Cancer rates higher near Sterigenics, state study confirms

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WILLOWBROOK, Ill. — Results of an exhaustive public health review found higher cancer rates around embattled Sterigenics plant in Willowbrook.

The study is fueling bipartisan calls to keep the facility closed for good.

The study from the Illinois Department of Public Health revealed some cancers were elevated in the area, but more research is needed.

Willowbrook Mayor Frank Trilla said the state cancer assessment for the area surrounding the Sterigenics facility is just further proof that the plant should be shut down.

“The numbers tell you ... this is a danger to our residents,” he said.

The initial study revealed increased cases of some cancers in the area. The increase in Hodgkin’s lymphoma cases in women was nearly 90 percent higher than expected in one 15-square-mile study area.

And pediatric lymphoma cases were elevated among girls.

But according to the report, there were also inconsistencies. Leukemia in women was significantly lower than expected, as was lung cancer in men and women.

Sterigenics released a statement saying in part, "given the numerous differences and inconsistencies highlighted in the report it is unreasonable to use the findings as evidence of any link between ethylene oxide (EtO), Sterigenics and the incidence of cancer in the Willowbrook area."

Read the full statement here (pdf)

The Willowbrook facility has been shut down since last month after the Illinois EPA banned Sterigenics from using ethylene oxide to sterilize medical equipment and other goods.

EPA officials said last week air testing since the facility has been shut down showed a rapid drop in ethylene oxide in the air.

Read the full Willowbrook Cancer Incidence Assessment here (pdf)

IDPH Cancer Assessment for Area Surrounding Sterigenics Facility by WGN Web Desk on Scribd

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