A young family was forced to leave their home after discovering that it had been built on toxic soil.
Residents of Fraser Street in the northeastern suburb of Melbourne Diamond Creek are collecting their belongings and leaving after learning that the soil has a high concentration of arsenic.
Now dubbed "Arsenic Avenue", the street was built near an abandoned gold mine, leaving the poisonous metal compound in the dust.
A mother, who has been living unconsciously in the area for 16 years, is worried that her children are already poisoned.
Residents, including the mother of three children, Kim Burdoch (pictured) fear for the safety of their families after they discovered high levels of poisonous arsenic in the suburb's soil
The mother of three children, Kim Burdoch, says she was only informed about the threat to her health when an insurance company was investigating flood damage in December 2017.
WHAT IS ARSENIC?
Arsenic is a metal found in nature and in products made by man, such as pesticides.
Small amounts usually enter the human body through food or inhalation, but leave the body soon after.
It is more common to be found naturally at mining sites (such as Diamond Creek) and may get stuck in the ground.
Prolonged inhalation can be harmful to health.
Source: EPA Victoria
They discovered that the entire area was plagued by high levels of arsenic.
"You do not expect to buy a house and then you discover 16 years later that you've been potentially exposed to contaminants that cause cancer," Murdoch told Nine News.
The locals have been told that if they want to stay, they should close their windows and doors, and wash their pets frequently.
"You can not hang the washing on the line, just simple things, and you can not leave a window open," said one resident.
Even letting your children play outdoors could put them at risk.
Children are at increased risk of getting sick with the poison, which toxicologists say is linked to bladder cancer and skin cancer.
Ms. Murdoch's two-year-old son returned a reading of almost five times the normal amount of arsenic in a blood test.
The poison is found in the dust and soil in the neighborhood (in the picture), which lowers the wind from an abandoned gold mine
The high volume of arsenic was discovered for the first time when an insurance company tested it after the floods last December (pictured)
The Environmental Protection Authority of Victoria (EPA) has been in contact with residents, with a family that said the governing body tested and confirmed high amounts of arsenic in the soil of their backyard.
WHAT IS ARSENIC POISONING?
Arsenic poisoning occurs after prolonged exposure to arsenic.
It can cause serious health effects, such as stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, damage to blood cells and nerves, or even death.
The average amounts of exposure have been linked to some forms of cancer.
The law firm Gordon Legal is currently gathering evidence for a class action against the EPA, claiming that they knew about high levels of arsenic for 18 years, according to the Herald Sun.
"We just do not think it's good enough to expect residents to solve a problem like this by going down to Bunnings and buying superior land to cover it up," said Fiona Rothville, Gordon Legal associate.
In a statement, the EPA said they informed the council about high levels of arsenic 18 years ago and have not seen any evidence of arsenic poisoning.