A quartet of plaintiffs yesterday accused Medline Industries and chemical supplier Vantage Specialty Chemicals of releasing the ethylene oxide emissions that caused their cancer.
The personal injury lawsuits, brought in the Cook County Circuit Court in Chicago, allege that Medline and Vantage Specialty Chemicals plants in Waukegan and Gurnee, respectively, allege that their leukemia and, in once case, breast cancer were caused by EO emissions from the nearby plants, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald reported.
The suits seek unspecified damages for alleged negligence and willful and wanton conduct from Vantage and Medline. Illinois health officials said tests showed EO gas near both of the plants; all of plaintiffs lived within miles of both the Vantage and Medline facilities, according to the newspaper.
“We have always operated in compliance with all laws and regulations (and) have always operated at or below our permitted levels,” Medline said in a statement to the paper, vowing to defend any lawsuits “vigorously.”
Vantage couldn’t be reached for comment, according to the Herald.
Sterigenics is facing a raft of similar lawsuits over a Willowbrook, Ill., plant that the Prairie State’s EPA shut down in February over its EO emissions. Ethylene oxide plants owned by Sterigenics in Smyrna, Ga. and Becton Dickinson (NYSE:BDX) unit Bard in Covington, Ga., have also been accused of emitting thousands of pounds of the cancer-causing gas.