Toxic Chemical Exposure Causes Cancer Risk for Willowbrook Residents

 Posted on October 12, 2018 in Personal Injury

Willowbrook ethylene oxide exposure attorneyIn the United States, we expect to be safe and free from harm as we go about our daily lives. While we may be aware of the risks we face in our daily activities and take steps to protect ourselves from personal injuries, there are times when we are put at risk due to the negligence of others without even being aware of the danger. This was illustrated recently when the news broke that residents of Willowbrook, Illinois have been exposed to toxic chemicals for years, putting them at increased risk of contracting cancer. 

Decades of Ethylene Oxide Emissions

In August 2018, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry released a report which raised the alarm that people in Willowbrook and nearby communities such as Burr Ridge have been exposed to ethylene oxide, a carcinogenic chemical. A plant operated by Sterigenics International, a company that sterilizes medical equipment, food products, and pharmaceutical drugs, was found to be emitting the toxic chemical, and the report concluded that people in the area have an elevated cancer risk and that the emissions constituted a public health hazard.

While Sterigenics took steps to reduce ethylene oxide emissions from their Willowbrook plant in July 2018, this does nothing to address the potential damages caused to Willowbrook residents by years of exposure. Around 20,000 people live in the area surrounding the plant, which has been operating since 1984, and there are four schools and one day care center within one mile of the facility.

The Dangers of Ethylene Oxide Exposure

Ethylene Oxide (EtO) is a colorless gas that is used as a disinfectant to kill micro-organisms such as bacteria and viruses. Exposure to EtO can cause irritation to the eyes, skin, and respiratory system. Long term exposure can be even more damaging, leading to leukemia, stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer, and Hodgkin’s disease.

Contact a Chicago Area Personal Injury Attorney

The attorneys of Winters Salzetta O’Brien & Richardson, LLC have begun working with Willowbrook families who have been harmed by ethylene oxide exposure, and we will work to help them obtain the full and fair compensation they deserve for the potential damages caused by this toxic chemical. We have decades of experience in a wide variety of personal injury cases, and we have secured millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for our clients.

Whether you live in Willowbrook, Burr Ridge, or elsewhere, if you are concerned about the harm that may have been done to you and your family by exposure to toxic chemicals, our DuPage County personal injury lawyers can investigate your case, determine the extent of your damages, and work with you to pursue compensation from negligent parties. Contact us today at 312-236-6324 to schedule your free consultation.


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