August 12, 2019

Duckworth Meets with Lake County Environmental Advocates Over Ethylene Oxide Crisis


[WAUKEGAN, IL] — U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today met with environmental advocates from Lake County on Monday to discuss efforts to protect residents from toxic ethylene oxide (EtO) emissions in the area and hear concerns. Duckworth met with members from Clean Power Lake County, Sierra Club Woods & Wetlands Group and Faith in Place to discuss her legislation aimed at addressing the EtO crisis, as well her leadership on other environmental issues as a founding member of the Senate’s Environmental Justice Caucus. Photos of today’s meeting are available here.

“Even at low levels, ethylene oxide is dangerous to public health, yet the EPA keeps failing to protect many Illinoisans from breathing toxic air, and that’s unacceptable,” Duckworth said. “Sadly, environmental challenges like these disproportionately affect low-income communities and communities of color. I know we can’t take back the damage already done in the Waukegan area, but I will keep working with local leaders like those I met with today to help improve the situation at hand in the months ahead.”

Duckworth has been a strong advocate against EtO emissions in Lake County, repeatedly calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct EtO emissions testing, though it has failed to do so. EtO is classified by the EPA as a known carcinogen and has been linked to higher incidences of certain cancers. Duckworth, along with members of the Illinois delegation, have called on the EPA to set new, strict national standards for facilities emitting EtO, and to conduct inspections of all Region 5 facilities using EtO for manufacturing and commercial sterilization.