New Lawsuits Filed Against Sterigenics for Willowbrook Facility Ethylene Oxide Emission Causing Cancer, Other Illnesses

New lawsuits filed against Sterigenics on behalf of individuals who recently developed cancers caused by emission of EtO into the air at Willowbrook facilities

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, UNITED STATES, June 8, 2023/ — This week, the law firms of Dunn Harrington, LLC and Passen & Powell filed multiple lawsuits against Sterigenics U.S., LLC and others on behalf of individuals who recently developed cancer and other serious illnesses caused by the company’s negligent emission of ethylene oxide (“EtO”) into the air at its EtO sterilization facilities located in Willowbrook, Illinois. The lawsuits were filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois (case no. 2023L005721, 2023L005701, 2023L005702, 2023L005781, 2023L005767).

The complaints allege that for decades, Sterigenics operated two EtO sterilization facilities in the densely populated suburb of Willowbrook, which were emitting massive and unnecessary amounts of EtO – an invisible, odorless carcinogen – into the air. As a result, residents of Willowbrook and surrounding communities unknowingly inhaled EtO for years, and the surrounding area has become one of the most toxic in the United States.

In August 2018, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services published a report documenting the public health impacts of Sterigenics’ EtO emissions on the Wilowbrook area and revealed the community members’ staggering and disproportionate risks of cancer. Following release of the report, Sterigenics initially announced a plan to drastically reduce its annual emissions of EtO before ultimately announcing the permanent closure of its Willowbrook facilities effective September 30, 2019. In the ensuing years, hundreds of lawsuits were filed by those who developed cancer and other serious illnesses allegedly caused by emission of EtO at the Willowbrook facilities.

On January 9, 2023, Sotera Health (parent company of Sterigenics) announced a $408 million settlement of more than 870 EtO cases pending against Sterigenics in Illinois. Importantly, the settlement does not affect individuals harmed by Sterigenics’ EtO emissions who had not filed suit when the settlement agreement was reached.

According to Colin Dunn, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs in the recently filed lawsuits:

“The decades of EtO emissions from the Sterigenics facilities continue to wreak havoc on the communities of Willowbrook and surrounding areas as families grapple with new diagnoses of breast and blood cancer and other serious illnesses. While there’s been a settlement of some cases, people like our clients are now suffering from these companies’ callous acts. The lawsuits seek to hold those responsible for their injuries and for the harm the residents of the Willowbrook area, including children, will unfortunately continue to endure.”

All questions regarding these matters should be directed to the law firms of Dunn Harrington, LLC and Passen & Powell.

Matthew Passen
Passen & Powell
+1 312-527-4500
email us here

Originally published at

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