Sterigenics Says It Can Reopen Plant In Willowbrook

Steve Miller
July 17, 2019 - 5:43 pm
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WBBM Newsradio/Bernie Tafoya


(WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The Sterigenics plant in Willowbrook has announced the state of Illinois is allowing it to reopen, after Gov. J.B. Pritzker shut it down in February because of concerns about cancer-causing emissions. 

Some residents are vowing to keep fighting the plant.

Sterigenics says it expects to reopen because it has addressed emissions control issues.

But longtime area resident Joanna Chlystek wants Sterigenics to stay closed. She said after being pregnant for five months, she lost her baby a few weeks ago. A doctor said the baby, a girl, had genetic issues.

"There's no doubt in my mind that this is Sterigenics,” she said. “Because that's what we know: Exposure of ethylene oxide mutates genes."

She added: "They're not welcome, and they need to start packing, and they need to start packing now."

State environmental officials said Wednesday the plant reopening is part of a legal agreement and comes after lawmakers approved tougher emissions standards for ethylene oxide earlier this year.

“The Illinois EPA will monitor Sterigenics to ensure they operate within the stringent framework lawmakers created in their legislation,” an agency spokesperson said in a prepared statement. “Our top priority remains the health and safety of every citizen and we will continue to work with their representatives in the General Assembly, as we have for the past several months.”