Sparked by Sterigenics, Pritzker signs law limiting ethylene oxide emissions

Governor Pritzker has signed legislation imposing the nation's strictest limits on ethylene oxide emissions.

Two bipartisan bills were sparked by the Sterigenics medical sterilization plant in Willowbrook, which has been cited for high emissions of the chemical.

Under the new law, which Pritzker signed Friday, ethylene oxide sterilization facilities would be prohibited from operating in Illinois unless:

  • The facility captures 100 percent of all fugitive ethylene oxide emissions within the facility.
  • The facility reduces ethylene oxide emissions to the atmosphere from each exhaust point by at least 99.9 percent or to 0.2 parts per million.

The bill requires facilities to conduct an initial emissions test within 180 days and yearly tests thereafter, and the results must be submitted to the Illinois EPA.
If a facility fails emissions test, it will be required to:

  • Immediately cease operations.
  • Notify the Illinois EPA within 24 hours.
  • Within 60 days, conduct a root cause analysis of the failed emission test, take corresponding corrective actions, and seek IEPA approval prior to restart of operations.
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