A former employee at Sterigenics, a local company accused of emitting the carcinogenic chemical ethylene oxide, has spoken to CBS 2 News about how ethylene oxide gas would leak during plant operations and how he was told to mop up residue into the public sewer system. The interview aired just a day after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it has detected the highest levels of ethylene oxide near Sterigenics since it began testing and a week after the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) shut down the company’s Willowbrook facility over the cancer-causing emissions.
Ethylene Oxide Residue Contaminated Public Sewer System
Mike Morales worked as a forklift driver at Stergenics’ Willowbrook plant in the early 2000s. One of his job duties was to clean out the chambers used to sterilize medical equipment. He said he would hose down a thick sludge-link residue after the equipment was treated with ethylene oxide. He also said he would then squeegee the residue into a drain that led to the public sewer system.
Morales claimed that the sterilization chambers “would leak gas a lot of times.” He also said he was told to move a drum filled with ethylene oxide gas outside the plant when it sprung a leak.
Highest Levels Recorded Near Plant
The interview aired on February 22, 2019, the day after the EPA released a report about ethylene oxide levels taken between January 2 and January 7 at several sites near the Sterigenics plant in Willowbrook. The most recent tests found concentrations of ethylene oxide gas that were over 20 percent higher than in the previous month and the highest since the federal government has begun testing.
On February 15, Governor JB Pritzker ordered the IEPA to take action against the company’s Willowbrook facility. IPEA Director John Kim issued a “Seal Order” prohibiting the company from pumping ethylene oxide gas into sterilization chambers. The order effectively shut down the plant’s operations.
Sterigenics Lawsuit Attorneys
The GWC Law Firm 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 the GWC Law Firm for a free consultation today. Call us at (312) 464-1234 or click here to chat with one of our representatives at any time.