Illinois AG representative plans to meet with Willowbrook officials over Sterigenics

The Illinois attorney's general office would like to meet soon with Willowbrook officials in regards to air quality issues surrounding Sterigenics International, according to a letter to Mayor Frank Trilla released Friday by the DuPage County state's attorney's office.

Matthew J. Dunn, chief of environmental enforcement for the attorney general's Asbestos Litigation Division, wrote that his office and the state's attorney's are reviewing data gathered form air monitoring conducted by the village's consultant, as well as data from the village of Burr Ridge and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Willowbrook residents have been demanding the closure of Sterigenics International, which uses the colorless gas ethylene oxide to sterilize medical equipment and food products, among other things.

Sterigenics has issued a statement saying it "safely uses EO in compliance with and better than regulations require" and that "a disruption in production would halt sterilization, negatively impacting public health in Illinois and beyond."

Recently, the nation's top air official, William Wehrum, the EPA's assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation, said, "We know for ourselves there are emissions of ethylene oxide from the Sterigenics facility," He added, "Our preliminary assessment is that that has created some elevated risk to people's health in the area around the facility and we see our job as to fully understand what the situation is, assessing all of the choices that are available for regressing the risk that exists and doing everything we can under the law and our powers of persuasion to get to a place where we've successfully addressed the issue."

He said, though, it could take several months before environmental officials know exactly what is being emitted from the plant and in what quantities.

Daily Herald Staff Writer Justin Kmitch contributed to this report.

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