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.
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.

Liz Chaplin

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