Chemistry professor weighs in on impact of chemical testing in Oklahoma

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Department of Homeland Security is planning to test chemicals right across the Kansas state line.

The testing will take place next year at the site of the former Chilocco Indian School, which has sat vacant since the 1970’s.

The school is located less than ten miles south of Arkansas City.

The school was chosen based on the characteristics of the buildings along with minimizing environmental impact and public exposure.

The DHS is aiming to test inert chemical and biological stimulants at that site next year.

David Eichhorn, the Chair of the Chemistry Department at Wichita State University hopes to ease the concerns residents in the area might have.

“I think the keyword you use is inert, so inert is a term that means it doesn’t react with things,” said Eichhorn.

Eichhorn says the two chemicals the d-h-s are testing are Titanium Dioxide and Urea.

He says those two chemicals are in products we commonly use.

“I know they have been well-studied and they are used in cosmetics and they are used in paints, and they’ve been tested very significantly and show they are not harmful,” said Eichhorn.

Eichhorn spoke about the reason he thinks the DHS would do this kind of testing.

“It sounds like they are trying to determine how these chemicals or how chemicals that are similar to them disperse,” said Eichhorn.

While residents are worried about chemicals being tested near where they live, Eichhorn believes there won’t be much of an impact from these kinds of tests.

“I would just say that, that these are non-toxic materials and especially once you’ve gotten to even a mile away than they are going to be pretty well dispersed,” said Eichhorn.

Concerned residents will get to voice their opinion on this issue.

Over the next month, DHS officials have invited the public to chime in on the decision to test chemicals in their community.

You can email or mail your complaints, but, comments must be submitted no later than December 8.

If you would like to email your comments, you can send them to biotest@hq.dhs.gov

You can mail comments to S&T CBD Mail Stop 0201, 245 Murray Ln SW, Washington, DC 20528-0201.


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