Recently, I found out that my hometown is in danger of some of the highest risks of cancer because a company went unchecked for years. The company is known as Sterigenics International, which essentially does work with cleaning medical instruments, medications, and food that kills pests and bugs.
This company has been sitting in a quiet little spot behind the local target in Willowbrook, Illinois. The issue is the company is releasing a chemical known as ethylene oxide which is listed on the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. In short terms, the main concern is this exposure is that it has been going for years unchecked. Ultimately this exposure can lead to a multitude of issues including cancer, breathing difficulties as well as other less life-threatening effects.
This obviously has outraged many residents, including me, because this is my home. I can't leave but now for years, I have been exposed to a chemical that is dangerous. Not only that but the plant is within reach of at least four schools, not to mention the many residents that live in the area, as well as the other local neighborhoods that include Hinsdale and Darien.
This is so serious in fact that the Attorney General, Lisa Madigan, of Illinois has filed a lawsuit against Sterigenics. This also goes into politics as Rauner is being accused of hiding information about the exposure of the chemical and its pollution. Rauner issued a statement saying he is supporting the cause in fighting for the truth of the emissions.
Now the Environmental Protection Agency is who initially reported the higher risk of cancer for the area. They did state that's hard to note long-term effects as air monitoring has historically not been performed in the area. Of course, their report leads to public outrage because even a slightly higher chance for cancer is not okay.
There is now a petition asking for the complete shut down of the company as well as the monitoring of the air quality in the DuPage area. If you would like to sign the petition it can be found here.
It is rightfully so that people are outraged. This company has not apologized but instead defended themselves saying that the chemical ethylene oxide is what has to be used to properly clean the medical tools and food that they are given. With the risk being a potentially a higher risk of cancer, it's no wonder citizens are not happy with the company.