On May 8, my mom, sister and I attended the River Forest Zoning Board of Appeals hearing on the EMSL Lab that wants to open at 7716 Madison St. EMSL Analytical Inc. is a company that tests asbestos, lead, food and environmental contaminants. Many nearby residents, including my family, are very worried about the possible effects to their families and neighborhood. 

At the start of the meeting, the EMSL attorney and employees said the items they are testing would not escape the lab because they have special filters called “hoods” that supposedly filter the contaminants out of the air. We were still concerned.

The first resident to speak was a neighbor, who mentioned that the “environmental contaminant” testing explained in the project application to the village that according to the EPA, environmental contaminants could be “anything and everything.” Another speaker, my mom, who lives 100feet from the possible site of the lab, said, “This is our backyard.” She showed pictures from our home, which proved her point that we are very close to the lead-testing area. Other residents mentioned issues including reports of faulty hoods, dangerous drop boxes and lowering property values. 

I am part of a club at Roosevelt School called the Bulldog Bark, which is a weekly news program that we produce. Because of our concern over EMSL, one of our stories on the show this week is about this hearing. 

On June 12, the ZBA will hear again from EMSL and vote. For the sake of the residents of River Forest, the board should vote “No.”

Nicky Altier

River Forest

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