State officials told residents of the Como neighborhood in Minneapolis that they want to test 200 homes to see if vapors caused by a nearby General Mills Superfund site have breached the houses.
Recent soil tests show that the solvent gases are present in the soil in areas adjacent to the houses.
About 80 residents attended an informational meeting today in the neighborhood, where recent soil tests in a small section show that vapor levels from a common solvent exceed government health limits for indoor air.
General Mills says it will pay for the vapor testing, and the installation of a ventilation system in any home where elevated vapors are found.
Jim Drake, who has lived in the neighborhood since 1979, said the pollution that occurred decades ago happened at a time when no one understood the potential health consequences.
"At least General Mills is facing the responsibility and doing it, so that's commendable," Drake said. "But it was unfortunate contamination of our groundwater and now we have to fix it."
Some residents want state health officials to test people who have had health problems to determine if solvent vapors are to blame.
"I'm concerned because I've lived here that long, but I've also sold real estate around here to a lot of people and some of those people have had illnesses," said Coral Sadowy, who grew up in the area and bought a house there in 1990. "We don't know where all of this is coming from. Hopefully it's nothing."
State officials, however, told residents that there is not a reliable way to test people to see if vapors caused their health problems.
A second meeting is being held tonight.