September 30, 2019 3:33 PM
Earlier today, the medical sterilization company Sterigenics announced that they will permanently close their facility in Willowbrook, Illinois, attributing the decision to “the unstable legislative and regulatory landscape in Illinois.”
Sterigencs has been in the Atlanta news since a story broke in July detailing the Georgia EPD’s decision to not inform residents near the Cobb County facility (along with a similar facility in Newton County owned by BD Bard) about the increased risk of exposure to Ethylene Oxide (EtO), the potent gas used in their sterilization process. Since July, the Sterigenics story has quickly evolved, as has the response from municipal, county, and state-level elected officials in Cobb County.
The Sterigenics facility in Cobb County remains closed after it was announced last week that the company was not in compliance with the county’s code and fire regulation requirements. A date for the the facility’s reopening has not been announced.
Earlier this month, the first results of independent air quality testing that is being done in coordination with the City of Smyrna, Cobb County, and the City of Atlanta revealed that while 80% of the test sites showed no indication of EtO, test sites closest to the Sterigenics facility detected EtO levels as much as 395 times higher than the “safe” threshold of 0.02 parts per billion.
Here’s the full text of Sterigenics’ Illinois announcement, which CBS46 reporter Carolyn Ryan shared on Twitter this afternoon: