Illinois shut down Sterigenics because of ethylene oxide. Meanwhile, in Lake County …

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Famed architect Mies van der Rohe preached “less is more,” but that doesn’t apply to data-gathering — particularly when that data involves carcinogenic pollutants. Repeated air testing around the Sterigenics plant in Willowbrook showed elevated levels of ethylene oxide, a cancer-causing chemical. That led to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s decision to effectively order the plant’s shutdown in February.

After the closure, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency inspectors conducted another round of air monitoring to determine ethylene oxide levels in the absence of emissions. As the Tribune’s Michael Hawthorne reports, average ethylene oxide levels after the plant shut down were at least 50 percent lower than they had been. At testing sites closest to Sterigenics, the levels were more than 90 percent lower.

That brings us to Lake County, where some residents are wondering Hey, what about us?

Lake County has its own worries about ethylene oxide. Two plants emit the chemical into the air under a legal permit: Medline Industries in Waukegan and Vantage Specialty Chemicals in Gurnee. Medline uses ethylene oxide to sterilize medical supplies. Vantage uses it in the manufacture of household products such as soap and shampoo.

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Columns,Feeds,Region: Chicago,City: Chicago,Opinion

via Opinion – Chicago Tribune https://ift.tt/1GuZMG0

March 29, 2019 at 04:03PM

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