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La Grange

La Grange active in Sterigenics shutdown efforts

LA GRANGE – After the temporary shutdown of the Sterigenics facility in Willowbrook, La Grange trustees say they will continue to actively participate in efforts to protect public health.

The statement was given during the manager’s report at the board’s Feb. 25 meeting.

The Sterigenics facility, 7825 S. Quincy St., Willowbrook, has suspended operations after the Feb. 15 issuance of a seal order from the Illinois EPA. The seal comes after the facility’s refusal to voluntarily shut down after the EPA released a report that reflected elevated levels of ethaline-oxide in the surrounding area of the facility.

Exposure to ethaline-oxide can cause a number of symptoms, including sore throat, blurred vision, difficulty breathing, headaches and vomiting, among others, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration report. Overexposure to ethaline-oxide also can cause leukemia and other cancers as well as genetic damage.

La Grange City Manager Andrianna Peterson said the EPA will continue to monitor the facility and will release new data, including information gathered from 16 additional air-quality testing dates. That data will be factored into a risk assessment that is expected to be released in the spring.

“The village will continue to monitor and actively participate in efforts by the U.S. and Illinois EPA to protect public health and welfare,” Peterson said.

Active efforts to this point include a Jan. 28 letter from Village President Thomas Livingston to the acting administration of the EPA urging a shutdown, a meeting between Livingston, U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Western Springs, and other legislators, conferences attended by other Village Board members and votes in support of efforts to shut down Sterigenics.

Trustee Mark Kuchler, who served as acting president at the board’s Feb. 25 meeting, represented the village at a Feb. 8 news conference in Chicago, calling for the shutdown. While there, he spoke with Lipinski, State Rep. Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, and other legislative and municipal leaders involved in the efforts to protect those located near Sterigenics.

Adding to the manager’s report, Kuchler said he believes Lipinski and Durkin have played valuable roles in the ongoing situation.

“I do believe strongly that [Lipinski and Durkin’s] leadership and efforts were instrumental in having the stop order entered,” Kuchler said. “On behalf of all of La Grange, I’d like to thank them again for their efforts.”

Information on the shutdown and related government links can be found on the village of La Grange website.

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