STERIGENICS WILLOWBROOK SHUT DOWN… AT LEAST FOR NOW.
By Urszula Tanouye
A Seal Order was issued by the Illinois EPA on Friday, February 15thresulting in a complete stop of operations at both Sterigenics buildings in Willowbrook. This has provided our community with a reprieve from constant ethylene oxide emissions since the company began operations in 1984. The grassroots community group Stop Sterigenicsis thrilled with the order, but we know it’s not the end of our fight for clean air. Our focus is on making sure this closure is permanent and that strong legislation is passed to ban ethylene oxide emissions throughout Illinois. No community should suffer the widespread serious health issues that have plagued ours.
We expect a difficult battle ahead. Tobacco, asbestos, and lead took decades of persistent advocacy before regulation began to back safety measures. The Ethylene Oxide Sterilization Association (EOSA) and American Chemical Council (ACC) have lobbied for decades to design a legal and regulatory framework that supports their business models. They’re following the playbooks of tobacco, asbestos, and lead right down to hiring the same defense firms to cast doubt on science and mislead the public about risk and cause.
How can we help? Set aside a few minutes to make a call or two, write an email, comment on your representative’s social media page, or tweet. Let our elected officials know you support strong legislation including a ban on ethylene oxide emissions. Let them know that the use of ethylene oxide for the sterilization and fumigation of non-medical equipment is unacceptable. These companies are profiting off our lives and must be compelled to use safer methods.
For more information, upcoming events and updates, check out Stop Sterigenics Facebook Page.