A DuPage County judge has approved a deal between Sterigenics and the State of Illinois to reopen one of the company’s Willowbrook buildings.
Deal Clears Way for Sterigenics to Reopen in Willowbrook
On September 6, 2019, DuPage County Circuit Judge Paul M. Fullerton approved a deal that Sterigenics had made with Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin. The deal was filed in DuPage County Circuit Court on July 17. Judge Fullerton delayed ruling on the deal to allow four nearby towns – Willowbrook, Darien, Hinsdale, and Burr Ridge – to comment on it.
Under the legal settlement Judge Fullerton approved, Sterigenics is required to limit emissions of cancer-causing ethylene oxide to 85 pounds a year, down from the recorded 4,600 pounds it released in 2017. Sterigenics will not be cleared to resume its operations in Willowbrook until it can show that the improvements to its pollution-control equipment work as intended.
Once the improvements are made, state and county lawyers wrote in court documents, the risk of developing cancer from breathing the Willowbrook facility’s pollution should be reduced to about one case for every million people exposed during their lifetimes. This represents the federal government’s most protective standard.
In exchange for its compliance, the proposed agreement would absolve Sterigenics of any liability with state regulators for past pollution problems. It also would not require the company to pay any fines to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, which had effectively shut down the Willowbrook facility in February 2019 in response to independent environmental testing that found “the highest levels of [ethylene oxide] recorded in the area to date.”
In response to the deal, Illinois House Minority Leader Jim Durkin introduced a measure that would allow local officials throughout the state to ban the use of ethylene oxide in their communities.
“We’ll do everything in our power to keep the doors closed,” Durkin said about Sterigenics after the court hearing.
Meanwhile, the mayors of Willowbrook, Darien, Hinsdale, and Burr Ridge are also weighing plans to seize the Sterigenics buildings through eminent domain and pay the company fair market value for the property.
Have You Developed Cancer Near the Sterigenics Facility?
GWC Injury Lawyers has been retained by several parties who have lived or worked near the Sterigenics facility for a number of years and have developed cancers or other serious medical conditions that may be related to their exposure to ethylene oxide gas.
If you have lived or worked near the Sterigenics facility in Willowbrook and have been diagnosed with cancer, contact GWC today for a free consultation with a personal injury attorney. Call our office at (312) 464-1234 or click here to chat with a representative at any time.