Duckworth hosts roundtable on Sterigenics concerns

DARIEN, Ill. -- U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth visited DuPage County Friday morning to hear from Willowbrook area residents affected by the release of a cancer causing chemical from a local plant over more than 30 years.

Sterigenics uses ethylene oxide to sterilize medical equipment and instruments.

During a closed door roundtable discussion with residents, the Democratic lawmaker said several members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation are promising action. They will demand the EPA release all the data it has on the release of the chemical into the environment.

Sterigenics has long claimed its release of ethylene oxide is within safety guidelines, but neighbors have complained of illnesses, including cancer clusters in the surrounding community.

A public forum held Thursday night by the EPA drew a large crowd of concerned residents.

Critics point out there are safer ways to sterilize equipment.

Sterigenics faces a number of lawsuits, including one brought by the Illinois Attorney General.

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