Water samples to be taken from homes near Sterigenics

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WILLOWBROOK, Ill. -- Water samples will be taken from homes near the Sterigenics facility in Willowbrook on Thursday, and tested for a cancer causing chemical.

Homeowners gave access for samples to be collected from an outside faucet or spigot.

All samples are being sent to an independent lab for analysis.

Last week, EPA tests showed high levels of the cancer causing chemical ethylene oxide near the facility.

The samples near schools and homes did not show measurable amounts.

Sterigenics uses the chemical to sterilize medical equipment and instruments.

"The concern is the ethylene oxide emissions, being released into the air, and then making their way into the well water," said Don Bolger, from the DuPage County Health Department.

Residents have complained that it's making them sick.

"When I first moved in, I was fine," said Michelle Schmitz. Schmitz says she started coming down with a rare auto immune disease shortly after moving in.

"I found it incredible that how many people, not just myself, even on one street, two people were diagnosed with an extremely rare auto immune disease."

Residents are upset that the Sterigenics plant is still open.

Last month's town hall meetings with the Environmental Protection Agency did little to ease people's fears. Sterigenics denies allegations that their emissions are the source of the trouble.

Sterigenics is now known as Sotera Health.

"Sterigenics is committed to working with officials to reassure the community that it is safe. We support the ILEPA’s water testing and all reasonable efforts by the ILEPA to allay the concerns of the community," said Chief Marketing Officer Kristin A. Gibbs.

"We know we have cancer in this area, but they're letting this company operate 24/7," said resident Debbie Hardin.

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