The plat, employing more than 18, 000 workers, releases EtO , an ethanol sterilization gas into the atmosphere. By 2006, The EPA, deemed this gas to be carcinogenic. Why weren’t emissions capped and, or, the plant shut down, then!
Instead, with cancer cases piling up, in 2018, the Willowbrook community learned of their danger and sued. One Lawsuit was successful. The rest are pending. The CDC has now decided that living in proximity to these plants makes us more vulnerable to cancer from toxic pollution. Do you live near Sterigenics Plant? They’re operating in other States and internationally. There must be a methodology to cap and clean their emissions? In the meantime, if you’ve got an unexplained cancer, sue!
Regulatory knowledge of the health risks grew over time. Based on animal studies and a study of more than 18,000 workers at 17 sterilization plants, EPA officially concluded in 2006 that EtO was a human carcinogen.
But for 10 years, while scientists reviewed those findings, the agency did not update its standards to reflect the risk the compound posed. In 2016, the EPA announced that the cancer risk for adults breathing EtO was 30 times greater than it had previously thought, and changed EtO’s descriptor from “probably carcinogenic to humans” to “carcinogenic to humans”.
It was only in 2018 that the Willowbrook community learned of the possible danger, when government officials published a report indicating residents living near the Sterigenics facility faced elevated risks of cancer and discharge from the facility.
The city ordered independent air testing that found airborne concentrations of EtO reached as high as 320 micrograms per cubic meter of air outside the village police station. (According to the Agency for Toxic Substances, an arm of the Centers for Disease Control, residential exposure to 2.1 micrograms of ethylene oxide per cubic meter of air over 33 years triggers elevated risks of cancer.)
Regulators determined those living in census tracts surrounding the facility face some of the nation’s highest cancer risks from toxic air pollution; the risk of cancer in one census tract was more than nine times the national average.