Willowbrook residents call for Sterigenics shutdown after latest tests

WILLOWBROOK, Ill. (WLS) -- There are renewed calls for a suburban medical sterilization facility to shut down after new air tests showed toxic concerns aren't going away.

Many Willowbrook residents said time has come to take action. After the release of three months of EPA tests showing dangerous levels of ethylene oxide in the air in a radius around the Sterigenics plant, many said the government needs to take action.

"I hear so many women having miscarriages, children have reading problems, when is it enough?" asked resident Neringa Zymancius.

Sterigenics has been in Willowbrook since 1984. In recent years numerous residents have been diagnosed with cancer and other ailments. Many blame Sterigenics and the toxic chemical released into the air. Gower Elementary School is about three quarters of a mile from the company.

"Levels at these schools are hundreds of times higher than acceptable levels," said Sri Rao, resident. "It has to stop. There are children being poisoned."

Senator Dick Durkin tweeted after the EPA presentation, "EPA's newest data just confirmed that Sterigenics is indeed responsible for dangerously high emissions of ethylene oxide at its Willowbrook monitoring sites."

However, the company issued a statement denying any wrongdoing. "We continue to operate well within the limits of our permit and all applicable regulations," the statement said.

Residents believe otherwise.

"We live here. We're hostages in this, we can't leave, you are not welcome here anymore," said Lauren Kaeseberg, resident.
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