Illinois EPA shuts sterilization facility due to pollution

February 16, 2019 GMT

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A suburban Chicago plant that sterilizes medical instruments with a chemical believed to be cancer causing has been shut by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

The state EPA announced late Friday it issued a seal order for Sterigenics U.S. in Willowbrook. The agency said the order was issued because air sampling by Willowbrook officials and the U.S. EPA consistently found high outdoor ambient levels of ethylene oxide. Federal regulators consider the gas a carcinogen.


Former Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Republican DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin filed suit last year claiming the Sterigenics plant was “a public health-risk nuisance.”

Sterigenics in the past has said ethylene oxide is the only process to sterilize medical instruments that is federally approved.

In a statement late Friday, the company called the IEPA’s action “indefensible.” The company says it will comply with the order and take legal actions to reverse the decision.