Sterigenics – in Illinois – Will Permanently Close

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:

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Willowbrook won’t miss them.

Mayor: “All I can tell you is that we’re thrilled and looking forward to life after Sterigenics.”

Illinois House GOP leader: “Neither the U.S. EPA or IEPA did us any favors in this process. It’s the community behind me that was not going to be denied.”

Illinois Gov: “Sterigenics’ decision today represents a significant development, demonstrating that Illinoisans will come together to protect the health and wellbeing of all our residents.”

County Board Chair: “We welcome the news today that Sterigenics plans to exit ethylene oxide sterilization operations in Willowbrook.”

Citizens are even more enthused.