EPA inspects former Masters Tuxedo site in Youngstown for harmful chemicals

Local News

The two most dangerous chemicals they're looking for are commonly used in dry cleaning

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Federal inspectors are trying to find out what’s in the soil where Masters Tuxedo once stood in Youngstown.

The building burned in April and there could be harmful chemicals in the ground.

The U.S Environmental Protection Agency will spend the week testing the soil and groundwater at the old Masters Tuxedo shop on Market Street.

The two most dangerous chemicals they’re looking for are commonly used in dry cleaning.

“Perchloroethylene and trichloroethylene, PCE and TCE for short,” said Eric Pohl, with the EPA. “They have a possibility to cause detrimental health effects, including a possibility for an increased cancer risk.”

Pohl said the best outcome would be if the chemicals are not widespread and don’t need to be cleaned up.

“Other times, there’s a potential for impact. We don’t know right now. That’s what we’re investigating in the site assessment.”

“Can we smell it? Can we taste it? Can we see it? Who knows,” said Mack Kelly, who lives next to the site.

Kelly has lived in the high-rise apartments directly connected to this lot for five years. He said his first concern is his health and his neighbors’ health.

He sees this as part of a bigger problem — blight.

“They want to leave all these eyesores in the City of Youngstown and then they want to run to Boardman, Austintown, Liberty and make the south side of Youngstown look bad,” Kelly said. “We’re just sick and tired of it. I know I am.”

The on-site testing will wrap up Friday but it will take some time for the results to come back.

If the contamination is found to be dangerous, the EPA will work on a remediation plan.

The EPA testing doesn’t cost the city money.

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