Last year it was made public that Ethylene Oxide is classified as a carcinogen.
Per the U.S. Department of Labor: Ethylene oxide (EtO) is produced in large volumes and is primarily used as an intermediate in the production of several industrial chemicals, the most notable of which is ethylene glycol. It is also used as a fumigant in certain agricultural products and as a sterilant for medical equipment and supplies. Unfortunately, EtO possesses several physical and health hazards that merit special attention. EtO is both flammable and highly reactive. Acute exposures to EtO gas may result in respiratory irritation and lung injury, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, shortness of breath, and cyanosis. Chronic exposure has been associated with the occurrence of cancer, reproductive effects, mutagenic changes, neurotoxicity, and sensitization.
The group, Stop EtO in Lake County has been lobbying hard to stop the use of ETO in Lake County. Their efforts have resulted in Lake County taking the necessary step of testing for EtO releases into the atmosphere from two manufacturing plants in Lake County that utilize the gas.
The testing is still ongoing, but the preliminary readings and results have indicated there are emissions of EtO that far exceed the allowable emission levels, by as much as 25 to 50 times in certain locations at certain times of day, with certain wind patterns.
Lake County has no authority to do anything about this other than to educate you and lobby our State and Federal representatives on your behalf, because the power to make changes lies in the hands of state and federal EPA. The Sterigenics facility in Willowbrook was closed down this year due to high levels of emissions, but no such action has been taken here in Lake County to address the high emissions.
If this is a concern for you, please feel free to check out Stop EtO in Lake County, or participate in their rally this Friday at 6:30. Their leaders and members have been very forthcoming with information. They will also help you to figure out how you can contact your representatives to demand action.
Disclaimer: I am not a scientist by any means. My information is being passed on as a citizen who is concerned that a gas that has been linked to rare cancers, disproportionately affecting women and children, is being released into the air that Lake County breathes. It is not my intent to cause needless alarm, however after reviewing the test results supplied by the Lake County Health Department, I am very concerned for my Lake County neighbors and residents and I will be contacting my State and Federal Representatives demanding actions be taken to make Lake County safe. I hope you do the same.
Click Here to view EtO Emissions Testing Results in Lake County.
Click Here to find out who your State and Federal Representatives are.