The Middlesex-London Health Unit is alerting residents on Brydges Street, west of Highbury Avenue, about elevated levels of trichloroethylene in the groundwater and soil near their homes.

The MLHU, Ministry of the Environment and the City of London will be conducting additional sampling soon to assess the extent of the contamination and exposure.

Trichloroethylene (TCE) is is a clear, colourless liquid primarily used for degreasing metal parts in the automotive and metal industries, as well as in some household products like glue, stain removers and paint, among others.

Following assessments at nearby industrial properties last year, the city and province installed monitoring wells and probes in the area.

According to the health unit, levels of TCE that warranted further examination were found last week.

Dr. Chris Mackie, medical officer of health, says, “There is no immediate health risk associated with this situation...The initial analysis shows that the levels of TCE in the groundwater and soil vapour are higher than desired, but far below levels that would cause immediate health effects.”

Very high or prolonged exposures to TCE, such as in an industrial setting, may cause cancer and other health effects, but there is currently no risk to residents.

The health unit also stresses that tap water is not affected, as it does not come into contact with groundwater.

Additional sampling, including testing the air inside some Brydges Street homes, is expected to begin next week.