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Suit Claims Air Force Exposed Family to Toxic Chemical

June 29, 1989|From United Press International

FRESNO — A Merced County family living next to the front gate of Castle Air Force Base has filed a federal lawsuit here alleging that the military has not done enough to protect it from the hazards of a cancer-causing chemical seeping from the base in a poisonous ground-water plume.

Bill Burke, his wife, Diana, and their 9-year-old daughter, Billie Jo, claim in the suit that the Air Force botched installation of a water filtration system at their home and exposed them to levels of the industrial solvent TCE 130 times higher than the drinking water safety standard for the solvent.

They seek at least $1 million in damages, contending that the value of their 1.5-acre home site has been destroyed and that they face years of uncertainty over whether they will develop cancer.

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