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La Grange News

Posted on: January 29, 2019

La Grange Working with State and Federal Agencies Regarding Air Quality

The Village of LaGrange has joined other communities from the region to express concerns and receive additional information regarding air quality reports involving the Sterigenics facilities in Willowbrook.  The Village has also received written information from Sterigenics as well as state and federal agencies regarding emission testing and data collection.  

The Village has and will continue to be in regular contact with our state legislators and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) regarding this matter.  The Village has also been in contact with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and has received a response.  The IEPA has provided a website to provide more information to the public regarding Sterigenics, including links to related documents and resources.  The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has also provided a website and additional resources for residents. 

On February 5, 2019, the EPA provided updated ambient air testing results that reflected elevated levels of ethylene oxide in the immediate vicinity of the Sterigenics facility in Willowbrook.  On February 15, 2019, the Illinois EPA issued a Seal Order to the Sterigenics facility in Willowbrook to halt ethylene oxide emissions.  The EPA indicates that it will continue to monitor for ethylene oxide until the end of the month, after which it will release new data.   This information is expected to be factored into a risk assessment report that is anticipated to be released this spring.

On March 11, 2019, the Village Board approved a resolution supporting the shutdown of Sterigenics and continued air quality testing.

On March 29, 2019, the Illinois Department of Public Health released the results of a cancer assessment for areas surrounding the Sterigenics facility.  The study found that some cancers were elevated.  The study also found differences and inconsistencies between genders, across the study areas, and among types of cancer.  The study was the first of its kind in the country and scientists recommend further research in Illinois and at the national level to determine the risks associated with ethylene oxide.  Information regarding the study is available on the IDPH website - http://www.dph.illinois.gov/news/idph-releases-cancer-assessment-area-surrounding-sterigenics-facility.  A list of Frequently Asked Questions and an e mail address where questions can be sent is also provided - ethyleneoxide-cancer@illinois.gov.

At the end of May, 2019, both chambers of the Illinois legislature approved legislation that creates stringent rules for ethylene oxide use and emissions, and to shut down failing facilities.  The bill requires ethylene oxide sterilization facilities to capture 100% of the ethylene oxide emissions.  The legislation also requires any company under a seal order to get certifications from every customer / supplier that ethylene oxide is the only method to sterilize their product.  The legislation was signed into law by the Governor on June 21 - PA 101-0022.

The Illinois EPA scheduled a formal public meeting to accept oral comments on a draft construction permit to place significant new controls on emissions at the Sterigenics US, LLC facility, located at 7775 Quincy Street in Willowbrook.  The Illinois EPA has reviewed the construction permit application and has prepared a draft permit for public review.  The formal public meeting was held on August 1, 2019 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm at Ashton Place, 341 75th Street in Willowbrook.

Please see the formal public meeting notice and fact sheet for more information.

On September 20, the Illinois EPA issued a construction permit to Sterigenics as a first step in a process and allows the company to begin construction necessary to ensure the facility complies with a strict new state emissions law that requires 100 percent capture of all ethylene oxide emissions.  Representative Durkin has issued a statement regarding the IEPA permit.  

On September 30, Sterigenics reported that it does not plan to reopen its facility in Willowbrook.

The Village will continue to monitor and actively participate in efforts by the U.S. and Illinois EPA as well as IDPH to protect the public health and welfare.


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