Thursday, March 5, 2009

Daly City California housing complex haunted by toxic past

March 2, 2009 - When Gail Smith moved to Midway Village, a tidy public housing development near the Cow Palace in Daly City, she felt lucky to pay a reasonable rent for a great place.

She didn't know that toxic waste scraped from Pacific Gas and Electric Co.'s former gas-manufacturing plant next door - a site on the state's hazardous-waste cleanup program - had been used as fill under the complex's buildings and parks.

Over the years, residents have reported breathing difficulties, headaches, skin sores and rashes, and neurological and reproductive problems. But unless the disease is rare mesothelioma from asbestos, proving a link between exposure to toxic chemicals and individual illness is almost impossible, health experts say.

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