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CHICAGO — Opening statements are underway in the first trial against a company that’s accused of releasing a known carcinogen into the air in Willowbrook.

Sixteen jurors are at a Cook County circuit courtroom Thursday, listening to opening statements in the Sterigenics trial.

The medical device sterilization company is accused of releasing a toxic gas, called ethylene oxide, into the air and around its plant.

Sue Kamuda is the first of hundreds seeking justice from the company. Kamuda’s attorneys told jurors that Sterigenics was aware of what they were doing, and never let residents know of the dangerous chemical they were releasing.

He said that Kamuda lived one-third of a mile from the plant and was exposed to the toxic gas for more than 20 years.

The attorney also claims she has no family history of cancer, and believes her proximity to the plant is what led to her cancer diagnosis.

Sterigenics opened its Willowbrook facility in 1984, but the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency shut it down in 2019 due to high cancer risks.

There are more than 760 cases pending against the plant, and each will be tried separately.

WGN reached out to a Sterigenics spokesperson, but they declined to comment.