The white house in the 4200 block of Colonial Avenue looks abandoned, as if its owners had gotten up one day and left without packing.

Since 1988, Blanche Weaver, 60, and her husband Ward "Jack" Weaver, 63, have been living in a trailer parked behind the house in Mount Vernon. They say their house was contaminated when termites there were exterminated in November 1984. To live in the house, they say, would make them sick.

The Weavers brought their case to Fairfax County Circuit Court Monday in what is expected to be a six-day trial, pitting the Weavers against Callaghan's Exterminating Corp., an Alexandria company accused of negligence in the extermination. The Weavers are suing Callaghan's for personal and property damage, saying they were poisoned by the chlordane, a termite-killing chemical used in the extermination.

The company denies those charges.

In an opening statement to a Fairfax County jury, David L. Hilton, an attorney for the Weavers, said, "At least seven times as much chlordane was used in that area {the kitchen} as should have been used."

Hilton told the jury that soon after the chlordane was applied, Blanche Weaver became depressed. She made frequent visits to doctors complaining of burning eyes, a sore throat and respiratory problems. Hilton said her eyes burned so much "at one time she said that if the only way she could stop the pain was to gouge her eyes out, she would."

In 1985, he said, she committed herself to a psychiatric unit at Mount Vernon Hospital, where her ailment was diagnosed as psychosis, and she stayed for 30 days.

P. Clark Kattenburg, an attorney for Callaghan's, told the jury that Blanche Weaver's mental problems did not come from chlordane poisoning but from a long medical history and the number of medications she was taking.

"Mrs. Weaver suffers from a personality disorder, which has nothing to do with chlordane," he said. "She talked herself into believing the pesticide was the cause of all her ailments."

Kattenburg said the 28 gallons of chlordane applied was not just under the kitchen floor, but under the entire house. "There was no misapplication of chlordane," he said. "Callaghan's followed the label instructions . . . . No samples show chlordane at unsafe levels."

The U.S. government banned chlordane in 1987 after it was linked to cancer and damage to the liver and nervous system.

F. George Leon, Weaver's family physician, testified for more than an hour yesterday concerning his patient's various medical problems, which he said were caused by chlordane. Weaver suffered from a variety of maladies, he said, including upper respiratory and psychological problems.

"I didn't know how to deal with her problem when she came in, other than she wasn't faking it," Leon said.

According to a toxicologist's report, Blanche Weaver's blood tests showed she had levels of chlordane higher than the national average. "She began to notice, 'The more I'm out of the house, the better I feel,' " Hilton said Monday.

In the fall of 1988 the Weavers moved out of their house, Ward Weaver testified. Since then they have lived in a trailer in their back yard. Blanche Weaver said she cannot go into the house at all because she has been found to be hypersensitive to chemicals.

"It's a nightmare to see my home sitting in the rain and I can't go in it," she said. "Everything we own is in that house.

"I come here and look at the kitchen all the time. I get so mad I could die." Staff writer Thomas Heath contributed to this report.