A Sunshine couple that lives near the former Massey Ferguson site fear their daughter’s autoimmune disease could be linked to exposure to a chemical detected in groundwater at her former primary school.
Norma* and Gerald* still live in the Martin Street house they raised their family in, just a few blocks from the Sunshine Harvester Works site. Their children went to school at Sunvale Primary School, and then moved on to Sunshine Technical School.
Their daughter was diagnosed with Raynaud’s disease while in her mid-20s. The now 63-year-old also developed scleroderma, an incurable autoimmune disease that can cause serious damage to internal organs.
Norma said if there was a link between contaminants and her daughter’s illnesses, she wanted others educated about the risks.
Norma and Gerald were among about 20 people who attended an information session at Sunshine library last month to find out more about groundwater contamination at the former Massey Ferguson site.
The information session was held after Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) issued a clean up notice to AGCO Australia, formerly machinery manufacturer Massey Ferguson, for its old Sunshine factory site after “volatile chemical” trichloroethane (TCE) was discovered in groundwater reserves.
It follows a two-year EPA investigation that kicked off when TCE was detected at Sunvale Primary School in 2015.
EPA metro manager Daniel Hunt said air testing being conducted around the Massey Ferguson site had so far not detect TCE.
*not their real names.