March 13, 2019

Duckworth Meets with Willowbrook Residents Impacted by Sterigenics


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) met with community members from the Willowbrook-area yesterday who have been exposed to cancer-causing ethylene oxide (EtO) emissions from the Sterigenics medical sterilization facility in their community. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) issued a Seal Order on Sterigenics on February 15th.

“I was pleased to host these Willowbrook-area residents who are here advocating for their neighbors and for all Americans who the Trump Administration is failing to protect from toxic chemicals in the air,” Duckworth said. “I’m proud to be working with them to push the EPA to update its safety standards on ethylene oxide and to urge Congress to pass legislation to make sure a preventable public health crisis like this never happens again.”

Duckworth and U.S. Representative Bill Foster (IL-11) recently introduced the Expanding Transparency of Information and Safeguarding Toxics (EtO is Toxic) Act of 2019, which would close existing loopholes that both benefit the chemical industry and allow the EPA to do nothing if a risk assessment they conduct finds that a chemical is more harmful than previously thought. Duckworth has also requested the EPA Office of Inspector General (OIG) immediately launch an independent investigation into a serious allegation that the EPA is failing to protect the public from EtO and asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to convene an interagency task force to examine alternatives to EtO. She has also called on the the EPA repeatedly to update its EtO safety standards and to investigate whether Sterigenics violated any laws.

In November of last year, Duckworth hosted a roundtable discussion in DuPage County where she heard from Willowbrook residents regarding their concerns about exposure to ethylene oxide emissions.