Researchers To Study If Foam Plant Chemical Sickens Residents

Researchers will finally reach Mecklenburg County early next month to study whether a chemical used in foam-making plants is making neighbors sick.

The chemical is used to make foam for furniture cushioning. It sometimes causes asthma and other health problems in workers. Hundreds of pounds of the chemical per year are also released into the open air.

State and federal health agencies want to learn whether people who live near the plants can be affected.

Objections from the foam industry legislators and members of Congress delayed the study for five years. The industry continues to criticize the study, saying it's poorly designed and unlikely to reveal new information.