Sterigeinics-More Misinformation and Half-Truths

Sadly, I’m familiar with dangerous pollution in this county. I spearheaded the effort to bring safe water to a little over 800 families in my neighborhood in the early 2000’s. While on the DuPage County Board I’ve been fighting to protect our citizens from health threats.

Our county is yet again in the middle of another public health crisis, a local business, Steriginics has been emitting dangerous levels of ethylene oxide into the air our friends and neighbors breathe. To make matters worse there is at least one known spill at the site that could pose a threat to people on private wells in the area surrounding Sterigenics.

On September 18, 2018, during the Health and Human Service Committee, I asked that the county, in conjunction with the health department, provide private well testing for the homes in the unincorporated area surrounding Sterigenics. I followed up my request with an email to Karen Ayala, Executive Director of the DuPage County Health Department, who responded immediately that her staff has begun to research the process.

During the October 10, 2018 meeting of the DuPage County Board Chairman Cronin gave a brief update on Sterigenics. Cronin said, “Karen Ayala with the DuPage County Health Department has been immersed and working with local, state and national  scientists and aggressively pursuing the facts and researching to find the most reliable test, we want to get it right.”

Ms. Ayala spoke at the October 10, 2018 meeting of the DuPage County Board Ayala said “on October 2, 2018, she issued a formal request to the USEPA seeking assistance on this pressing issue and followed up on October 5, 2018, with the USEPA in which they responded that they have gathered a group of EPA experts to assess any potential groundwater impact in Willowbrook.”

That doesn’t exactly sound like Ms. Ayala has been ‘immersed or aggressively pursuing the facts.”

I am putting this information out because I am tired of the misinformation and the half-truths that are continually being thrown out at the expense of our citizens who are very concerned about their health.

On October 2, 2018, I sent information to Karen Ayala regarding the types of testing that can be done to detect ethylene glycol, the information was provided to me by Mike Joyce, Mike used to work with the USEPA and was very involved with the water contamination in Downers Grove.

Below is the email chain between myself and the county staff:

Thu 04/10, 09:10
Hi Liz –
 
Thanks for the testing information that you sent the other day.  Karen and I have been reviewing the information that was contained in the email.  Any chance that you might have found a reliable test for Ethylene Oxide?  We are struggling to find any reliable tests for this compound.
 
Thanks
 
Nick
 
Nicholas Kottmeyer, P.E.
Director of Public Works and Operations
DuPage County
On October 5, 2018 I sent the below response:
Fri 05/10, 11:39

Thanks Liz for the information— do they conduct tests on ethylene oxide?
Karen J Ayala
Please excuse brevity and typos.
Sent on iPhone.

Erroneous Information Removed From DuPage County Website

After a week of having erroneous information on its website DuPage County finally pulls news release at my request.

In order to address the public’s concerns about Sterigenics, the company that has poisoned the air in Willowbrook and the area surrounding Sterigenics for over thirty years, DuPage County set up a link as a source of information. That’s admirable as long as the information provided is accurate.

On October 2, 2018 DuPage County published a statement under the Sterigenics link.

Statement Regarding Action by Illinois E.P.A.

After calling for the shutdown of the Sterigenics Willowbrook facility for weeks, today DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin was pleased to report that his communication with Governor Rauner and the Illinois Protection Agency has led to the temporary shutdown of the facility. Cronin said:

”I am pleased that the Governor has answered my call to shut down Sterigenics of Willowbrook while state and federal environmental officials can complete testing and determine whether the air our residents breathe is safe. Together with Senator John Curran and County Board Member Greg Hart, I will continue to press the company and the authorities regulating Sterigenics to act on behalf of the communities involved. I will continue to support legislation that closely supervised the permitting of Sterigenics and promote open dialogue with the residents.”

That’s a powerful statement. The statement was not true. The statement was careless and reckless. The people in Willowbrook and the area surrounding Sterigenics have been on an emotional roller coaster and this statement lead to confusion and dismay as some were celebrating the shut down of the facility only to realize the facility had not been shut down and continues to conduct business as usual.

I spoke about the importance of providing accurate information to the public and requested that the statement be removed from the Sterigenics link.

 

 

Sterigenics link can be found here.

The Story of Sterigenics

Sadly, I’m familiar with dangerous pollution in this county. I spearheaded the effort to bring safe water to a little over 800 families in the early 2000’s. While on the DuPage County Board I’ve been fighting to protect our citizens from health threats.

Our county is yet again in the middle of another public health crisis, a local business, Steriginics has been emitting dangerous levels of ethylene oxide into the air our friends and neighbors breathe.

The moment I heard that the Illinois EPA decided that there “isn’t an immediate health crisis,” something Republicans, including Governor Rauner have repeated… I was reminded of the ordeal my family went through when we learned our water had been poisoned. They were wrong. And people got sick.

Please take a few minutes to watch this powerful video and share.

Stop Sterigenics will have a booth at the GOTV Concert today at the DuPage County Fairgrounds from 3:00 to 7:00 pm. Hope to see you there.

 

Local Emergency Planning Committee – Stop Sterigenics

During yesterday’s meeting of DuPage County’s Judicial Public Safety Committee I brought up the concerns of the residents of Willowbrook and the area surrounding Sterigenics had regarding the explosive nature of ethylene oxide. There’ll be a meeting of the  Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC).  The meeting is open to the public.  Meeting information is below:

 

Local Emergency Planning Committee

November 20, 2018

1:30 pm

OEM Chapel

418 N. County Farm Rd

Wheaton, Il