November 12, 2008

Dangerous Chemical Found Near Fla. Plant

A chemical thought to cause cancer has been found in a home near the Raytheon defense plant in St. Petersburg, Fla., an agency says.

The Florida Department of Health confirmed that the chemical 1, 2-dichloroethane was found in an area home for the second time since August, WFLA-TV of Tampa, Fla., reported Wednesday.

An underground plume of toxic chemicals has been slowly migrating from the plant to a nearby community since 1999, state records indicate. But results in August from examinations of six groundwater test wells in the area weren't connected to high chemical levels found at the Brandywine apartment complex in St. Petersburg, the television station's report said.

The levels found at the apartment site were well above the levels thought to cause cancer in humans during lifelong exposure, WFLA-TV said.

After the second discovery of the chemical in the area, Eckerd College environmental studies Professor Kent Curtis told WFLA-TV, "There is reason to be concerned, though probably not alarmed."