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

WILLOWBROOK, Ill. (WLS) -- State and DuPage County health officials tested the water in homes around the Sterigenics plant in southwest suburban Willowbrook Thursday.

There are concerns the facility has been leaking toxic chemicals, which some claim cause cancer.

To test the water officials let the hose run for 10 minutes to make sure it's clear then take a sample from an outside faucet or spigot.

The DuPage County Health Department and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency took water samples from 70 residential wells within a mile of the Sterigenics facility.

RELATED: Andrea Thome believes carcinogenic emissions from Sterigenics in Willowbrook sickened family

Sally Smoczynsky, a 30-year resident of Willowbrook, agreed to have her water tested.

"I'm glad they are being cautious, I think there are a lot of unknowns we are encouraged that they are testing water," she said.

Sterigenics is a medical supply sterilization company that uses ethylene oxide. The company has been under EPA scrutiny since elevated levels of the cancer-causing chemical was detected in the air. The DuPage County Health Department wants to make sure the drinking water is safe.

RELATED: New EPA data reveals cancer-causing chemical still present near Sterigenics

"The emissions have been released into the air for years and the concern is it's gotten into the ground and made its way into the ground water supply," said Don Bolger, DuPage County Health Department.

RELATED: Sterigenics air-quality measurements flawed, EPA says

So far, EPA test results from air quality monitoring did not detect ethylene oxide at nearby schools and some residential areas, but the carcinogen was detected at two sites closest to Sterigenics, including Willowbrook Village Hall. Despite the mixed results, several residents and some lawmakers are calling for the company to shut down. Smoczynsky is not one of them.

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