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updated: 11/6/2017 12:00 PM

O'Hare neighbors complain of stink from soundproofing windows

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  • Some windows installed years ago to soundproof homes near O'Hare and Midway international airports are giving off noxious fumes, residents say.

    Some windows installed years ago to soundproof homes near O'Hare and Midway international airports are giving off noxious fumes, residents say.
    Daily Herald File Photo

 
 
Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct that (773) 894-3636 is the phone number to call if you have questions about windows with a bad odor used in soundproofing.

Complaints about foul-smelling windows installed to soundproof homes from jet noise are cropping up in suburbs near O'Hare International Airport.

A residents' group warned of "toxic" odors at an O'Hare Noise Compatibility Commission meeting Friday as

Chicago Department of Aviation officials said they are waiting for results from laboratory tests of the windows manufactured by the now defunct Sound Solutions company.

"It's a burning plastic smell in our homes," said Chicagoan Pamela Zidarich, a founder of the nonprofit Midway Defective Window Recipients group.

"We beseech you to quit installing windows until you know the root of the problem. We have no idea what we are being exposed to."

Homeowners from Park Ridge, Schiller Park, and Rosemont have contacted the Department of Aviation with complaints, as did Chicagoans living near O'Hare and Midway international airports.

So far, 38 households near O'Hare have reached out, CDA Deputy Commissioner Aaron Frame said.

Those residents "are very concerned. Some of them are scared. We are trying to figure out what is going on," Frame said.

Many of the Sound Solutions products were installed five to 10 years ago but odors are just surfacing now, although a small number of windows were replaced in 2013 following complaints. Frame said there was no apparent trend until now.

The city is replacing windows in eligible homes and is waiting the results of lab tests to see what caused the odors, officials said. Daily inspections are occurring in homes where issues were reported.

In September, the city sent several defective windows to be tested and also is conducting air quality tests in some homes.

So far, the department has sent letters to 2,000 households close to O'Hare and 3,000 near Midway.

Sound Solutions went out of business in 2014 and Chicago stopped doing business with the company in 2013, Frame said, because their products "didn't pass muster." He advised residents with bad-smelling windows to call (773) 773-894-3636.

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