Sterigenics is facing a lawsuit over alleged emissions of ethylene oxide, a highly carcinogenic chemical compound, according to a press release from law firm Power Rogers & Smith of Chicago.
The firm alleges that Sterigenic’s Willowbrook, Ill.-based facility has been using ethylene oxide to sterilize its medical devices, pharmaceuticals and food and spice products since 1984.
Last month, the US Dept. of Health and Human Services released a consultation letter suggesting that residents of Willowbrook and workers are at an increased risk of cancer and other health problems, including neurological, respiratory and gastrointestinal effects as a result fo the ethylene oxide emissions.
“This chemical, ethylene oxide, has been a known human carcinogen in the United States and international world since the mid-20th century. Sterigenics needs to be held responsible for the injuries they’ve caused and the damage they’ve done to families and their homes,” Power Rogers & Smith of Chicago’s Brian LaCien said in a press release.
The firm, alongside attorneys from law firm Korein Tillery, filed yesterday in Chicago’s Cook County Courthouse. The filing includes claims for negligence and strict liability from severe injuries as a result of the emissions, as well as claims that the company fraudulently concealed ethylene oxide’s “highly carcinogenic nature,” according to a press release.
“These families and many others in the area now have to go about their daily lives knowing they’re living and breathing a harmful, carcinogenic chemical that shouldn’t have been used in the first place,” Power Rogers & Smith of Chicago’s Todd Smith said in a prepared statement.
In July, Sterigenics announced plans to build a new facility in the Chesterfield/Derbyshire, U.K.’s Markham Vale North area as the company looks to expand its footprint in Europe.