Willowbrook residents rally, demand gas-emitting company shut down

WILLOWBROOK, Ill. (WLS) -- Willowbrook residents held a rally outside a chemical plant that could be releasing cancer-causing chemicals into the air. Neighbors say they want the place shut down.

"We had no idea that this was here that this was happening," said Melissa Alvarado, resident.

Outside of the Sterigenics facility dozens of families raised their voices and concerns over a federal report that revealed the company may be releasing cancer-causing chemicals into the air.

"We don't have choice to go buy air, we don't. This is what we breathe every single day," said Neringa Zymancius, resident.

Among the dozens, some wore face masks as the group demanded the company be shut down until more information is known about the effects the chemicals may have had over its 34 year history in Willowbrook.

"To find out that this was here the whole time, poisoning our kids, poisoning our community, poisoning our air," said Alvarado.

Now Rose Marth's family says they are questioning the federal report's impacts after they said three people in their neighborhood, including their young daughter Kaylee, were diagnosed with cancer within a two year period.

"We don't know definitively but it has raised a lot of concerns to us," Marth said.

Some families have already sought legal help, hiring attorneys at Romanucci and Blandin to investigate the impacts of the federal findings.

"It's every families' worst nightmare because this is something people in that community had no control over," said Martin Gould, attorney at Romanucci and Blandin LLC

In a written statement released by Sterigenics parent company Sotera Health, it said, "Willowbrook's air pollution control equipment is state-of-the-art and the facility achieves and exceeds all compliance goals set by the EPA and Illinois EPA for air emission reductions."

In response Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin introduced new legislation Friday that would temporarily shut down industrial operations that emit toxins into the air.
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