Sterigenics plant in Willowbrook shut down Friday
The Sterigenics plant in Willowbrook has been shut down after new air sampling results revealed extreme day-to-day fluctuations in levels of ethylene oxide and the highest levels recorded in the area to date, officials said Friday.
The new results were gathered from testing done Feb. 5-8.
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency notified Willowbrook the plant was closed down Friday evening, according to a statement from the village.
IEPA issued a seal order stating the property will remain sealed until the agency rescinds it, according to a statement from the agency. Sterigenics, which operates two buildings at 7775 S. Quincy St. and 830 Midway St., uses ethylene oxide, which is listed under the Clean Air Act as a hazardous air pollutant, in its commercial sterilization operations.
The U.S. EPA has categorized the substance as carcinogenic to humans.
IEPA identified seven census tracts near Sterigenics with cancer risk scores greater than one per 10,000 people.
Willowbrook Mayor Frank Trilla and other elected officials held a news conference to announce the closing Friday evening at village hall.
"These new test results prove one thing: Sterigenics needs to be shut down," Trilla said.
In a statement released earlier in February, Sterigenics said it " ... has a proven record of operating safely and in compliance with applicable regulations ... Any action to shut down a business operating well within regulatory limits, based on incomplete data taken out of context, sets an extremely bad precedent."