Willowbrook Sterigenics plant shut down Friday night

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Saturday, February 16, 2019
Willowbrook Sterigenics plant shut down Friday night
After new testing, the Sterigenics plant in suburban Willowbrook will be shut down Friday night, according to Willowbrook officials.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- After new environmental testing, the Sterigenics plant in suburban Willowbrook will be shut down Friday night, according to Willowbrook officials.

In a statement released Friday, Willowbrook officials said testing showed "extreme daily fluctuations" in ethylene oxide levels and "the highest levels of EtO recorded in the area to date."

RELATED: Group releases 1984 EPA letter about cancer-causing chemical in Willowbrook

According to the statement, testing was completed between February 5 and 8. Results were given to the Illinois Attorney General's office, the DuPage County State's Attorney, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. EPA, the statement said.

"Today's Seal Order to the Sterigenics facility in Willowbrook is welcome news. I appreciate the efforts of everyone who has worked together over the past year to finally bring safety and peace of mind back to our community. Sterigenics has failed our residents, and today's action should put any other entity that threatens the health and safety of residents in Illinois on notice," State Representative Jim Durkin said in a statement released Friday.

Sterigenics released a statement in response to the seal order, saying:

The Illinois EPA's actions to suspend operations at the Sterigenics Willowbrook facility are indefensible. Sterigenics Willowbrook has consistently complied with all state permits and regulations and Sterigenics has been in ongoing cooperation with the Illinois EPA and other officials regarding the safe operation of the facility.

Unilaterally preventing a business that is operating in compliance with all state permits and regulations from carrying out its vital function sets a dangerous precedent. The Illinois EPA's decision will place the health and lives of thousands of patients who rely on the critical medical products sterilized at Willowbrook at risk.
In addition, we are in the process of reviewing the air monitoring results released today from the Village of Willowbrook. These results are inconsistent with all prior monitoring results. We will be analyzing these results closely to understand the cause for such inconsistency from all prior samples taken to date.
Sterigenics will comply with the order and will take all legal actions necessary to reverse this decision.

On February 8, some top Illinois lawmakers joined in asking the Environmental Protection Agency to immediately force Sterigenics in Willowbrook to stop operating due to concerns about emissions of a cancer-causing chemical.

RELATED: Water tested for cancer-caused chemical near Sterigenics plant in Willowbrook

"We need to have them shut down. They might have a permit to operate, but they don't have a permit to create a public health crisis,' said Burr Ridge Acting Mayor Zach Mottl.

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In a statement released earlier in February, Sterigenics said it "...has a proven record of operating safely and in compliance with applicable regulations ... Any action to shut down a business operating well within regulatory limits, based on incomplete data taken out of context, sets an extremely bad precedent."

RELATED: Illinois EPA orders Sterigenics to cease operations in Willowbrook until safety review complete