Officials give update on Franklin contamination testing

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FRANKLIN, Ind. (WISH) — The city of Franklin, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the state of Indiana gave an update Tuesday on recent testing for contamination in the air, water and soil in Franklin. 

The city hired EnviroForensics to complete testing earlier this summer, after families demanded answers due to the number of kids with cancer in the area. 

Franklin Mayor Steve Barnett said the early results from EnviroForensics show no reason for widespread concern. 

But Ashley Magner, a mom with four kids in Franklin, said she’s still worried. 

“If you keep (the kids) cooped up in the house, you’re afraid the water is gonna get to them,” Magner said. “You can’t keep them outside because the air and soil.”

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) also conducted recent tests. IDEM announced Tuesday that its tests in Franklin have found no dangerous chemicals that could potentially cause cancer. 

Stephen Henshaw, CEO of EnviroForensics, said the company found one area that “warrants further investigation.” That area is just around the corner from Magner’s home.

“It’s very concerning,” Magner said. 

Earlier this summer, the nonprofit Edison Wetlands Association tested homes near the former Amphenol Corporation site and said it found alarming levels of possible cancer-causing chemicals.

IDEM said it recently tested one of the same houses and found it safe. 

IDEM Commissioner Bruno Pigott said the nonprofit’s results could be affected by cleaning chemicals or day-to-day activities. 

“The data we’ve collected in all of these different situations demonstrates no specific environmental concern that is widespread over the city of Franklin,” Pigott said. 

The U.S. EPA said it was working with Amphenol to investigate on and near the company’s Franklin site.

City leaders said locals can stay up to date on test results on the city’s website. 

Evan Meade, a 24-year-old who has recovered from cancer after being diagnosed at 16, said he grew up about a mile from the Amphenol site. 

“Locally and at the federal level, I’m comfortable with the actions they’re taking to make sure the problem is eradicated if there is one,” Meade said. 

IDEM said officials are working to place short-term air quality monitors throughout Franklin. 

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