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Water tested for cancer-causing chemical near Sterigenics plant in Willowbrook

WILLOWBROOK, Ill. (December 14, 2018) – Environmental regulators collected water samples from dozens of homes near the Sterigenics International plant in Willowbrook this week as part of the ongoing response to concerns over the release of dangerous ethylene oxide gas by the company.

Public health officials sent letters to nearly 600 properties within a mile of the plant requesting access to private water wells identified by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and DuPage County Health Department.

To test the water, officials let the hose run for 10 minutes then took a sample from an outside faucet or spigot. The samples will be sent to a certified laboratory to test for levels of ethylene oxide and ethylene glycol, highly toxic chemicals that Sterigenics uses to sterilize medical equipment, pharmaceutical drugs and food. The DuPage County Health Department and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency took water samples from a total of 70 residential wells within one mile of the Sterigenics facility.

Sterigenics is a medical supply sterilization company that uses ethylene oxide. Prolonged exposure to ethylene oxide has been associated with incidences of cancer, reproductive effects, brain damage and changes in DNA, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.The company has been under EPA scrutiny ever since elevated levels of the cancer-causing chemical was detected in the air.

Last week, new air monitoring data showed high levels of ethylene oxide near Sterigenics’ Willowbrook plant. In response, organizers with the advocacy group Stop Sterigenics are planning a protest Saturday at the company’s headquarters in Oak Brook.

Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard has filed multiple lawsuits against the companies responsible for the toxic air pollution: Sterigenics International, LLC and its Chicago-based parent company, GTCR, LLC. The complaints allege that Sterigenics knowingly emitted ethylene oxide into the air since 1984 – without ever informing or warning the community about it. As a result, those who have lived, worked, or gone to school in the surrounding area during the past 34 years have been unknowingly breathing in the carcinogen. The Sterigenics lawsuits seek damages based on negligence, civil battery, public nuisances and other legal theories.

The attorneys of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. are investigating many additional claims against Sterigenics as well.  If you believe that you or a loved one has suffered cancer or other serious health problems caused by exposure to ethylene oxide in the Willowbrook area, contact us today for a free review of your case.

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