CHICAGO (CBS) — Sterigenics and the EPA released the following statements after the EPA performed air quality tests after the Sterigenics plant was ordered to stop using ethylene oxide.
US EPA Statement:
“The refined risk assessment refers to the risk assessment that EPA will complete this spring. That assessment will be more detailed and localized than the National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA) that EPA issued in 2018, and will incorporate what we have learned. NATA is a nationwide screening tool, intended to help EPA and state, local and tribal air agencies determine if areas, pollutants or types of pollution sources need to be examined further to better understand risks to public health. It looks at risks from all pollutants from large and small industrial sources, and from mobile sources. The risk assessment EPA will complete this Spring will focus on risks from emissions from the Sterigenics Willowbrook facility on a finer scale.”
“Sterigenics continues to review the U.S EPA’s air monitoring results from Willowbrook. As expected, the ethylene oxide (EO) detection levels released by the U.S. EPA today continue to demonstrate the existence of EO in the ambient air in Willowbrook despite the fact that the Sterigenics facility remained closed under the IL EPA’s Seal Order for the majority of the test days.
While it remains premature to draw conclusions regarding long-term health risks based on the U.S. EPA’s data, we believe the results released today provide further evidence that there are other sources of EO in Willowbrook aside from the Sterigenics Willowbrook facility. EO exists in the air all around us and the detection levels indicated in today’s results are generally comparable to the background levels previously measured across the Chicago area.
We are working with the EPA and other officials to assess how the operations at the Sterigenics Willowbrook facility may contribute to the levels of EO in the Willowbrook area. Sterigenics remains committed to working with regulators, legislators and Illinois public officials to evolve regulations and continuously improve our operations in the ongoing interest of public safety.
Sterigenics has a proven track record of complying with and going above and beyond what the regulations require in the safe use of EO to sterilize critical medical products and devices. The Illinois EPA’s decision to halt sterilization activities at the facility is placing at risk the health and lives of thousands of patients who rely on those medical products. Sterigenics remains in compliance with the IL EPA’s Seal Order and is taking all appropriate legal actions to resume operations.”
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