October 12, 2018

Duckworth, Durbin & Foster Ask EPA to Fund DuPage County Public Health Efforts, Assess Ethylene Oxide Exposure Nationwide


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL), along with Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL-11), wrote to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today requesting federal assistance to help community groups in DuPage County understand the magnitude of the public health dangers they are facing, medical monitoring for community members who have been exposed to ethylene oxide as well as immediate actions to assess and reduce ethylene oxide exposure across the country. An August report detailed higher than normal cancer risks in the area surrounding Sterigenics, a Willowbrooks-based company that uses ethylene oxide to sterilize medical products and equipment. Ethylene oxide has been classified as a known carcinogen by the EPA and has been found to cause cancer.

“The Trump Administration has characterized EPA’s mission as returning to a “back-to-basics” agenda, which includes achieving clean air,” the Members of Congress wrote. “For the residents of DuPage County, who have among the highest cancer risks in the country, reducing exposure to ethylene oxide through fugitive air emissions is critical to this goal.”

On September 25th, the Members of Congress requested the EPA and Sterigenics begin testing local air quality for harmful ethylene oxide emissions and make their results available to the general public – and that the company provide personal exposure tests to Willowbrook residents. The EPA notified the Members of Congress on September 27th that they had begun to test air quality near Wilowbrook-based Sterigenics for emissions of ethylene oxide.

A copy of the letter the Members of Congress send the EPA today is available online here.

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