WILDOMAR, Calif. (KTLA) — Some residents in Wildomar claim they’re getting sick because of toxic soil in their neighborhoods.
But at a town hall meeting on Tuesday night, officials insisted that they’ve tested the soil and the air, and found that both are safe.
“We do not see any evidence that indicates there is a risk of hazardous substances, particularly volatile organic carbons, in the soil,” said John Scandura, of the Department of Toxic Substances Control.
“There really wasn’t anything there that we would think would cause a health concern,” echoed Jill Whynot, of the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
Still, the homeowners from the Autumnwood development question the test results presented to them by the AQMD.
As reported by KTLA, Tom Ciccarelli and his infant daughter, now six months old, have not lived in their home on Amaryllis Court since his wife Fatima died in August.
An autopsy revealed high levels of barium in Fatima Ciccarelli’s body.
“The woman had an elevated barium level of 1,100 micrograms per liter, which is close to the lethal level,” said UCLA toxicologist Dr. James Dahlgren.
He believes that Fatima Ciccarelli, 36, and a second Autumnwood resident, 32-year-old Cynthia Turner, were exposed to lethal doses of soluble barium.
“Even though it’s soluble in the soil, when you ingest it or breathe it into your lungs, it’s transformed into barium chloride,” he explained.
Dr. Dahlgren said that barium chloride is “extremely soluble and highly toxic.”
“I spent almost a year in Iraq. Is this the system that I fought for?” Tom Ciccarelli wondered on Tuesday night. “This ain’t the American dream.”