Residents of Gurnee, Waukegan and nearby communities have been exposed to ethylene oxide from the Medline and Vantage facilities for years

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Illinois Ethylene Oxide Exposure Lawyer

Attorneys Representing Victims of Ethylene Oxide Exposure from Medline and Vantage

Every person has the right to live and work in a healthful environment. Unfortunately, based on government reports, communities surrounding the Medline and Vantage facilities in northern Illinois face some of the highest long-term cancer risks from air toxics in the U.S. Two sources of ethylene oxide contamination in Lake County are the Vantage facility in Gurnee and the Medline facility in Waukegan.

Medline and Vantage both use ethylene oxide in their industrial processes. Ethylene oxide is highly reactive and easily distributed throughout the human body. There is evidence linking ethylene oxide exposure to increased risk of several adverse health effects including cancers, tumors, reproductive and developmental impairments, miscarriages and infertility.

In 2019, local community officials approved an intergovernmental agreement between the Village of Gurnee, City of Waukegan, and Lake County to conduct air monitoring. The ethylene oxide air monitoring tests demonstrated that emissions have traveled miles from the Medline and Vantage facilities.

Ethylene Oxide from Medline in Waukegan

Emissions have traveled miles from the Medline facility to surrounding communities

Medline Industries operates a commercial sterilization facility at 1160 Northpoint Road in Waukegan, Ill. It uses ethylene oxide to sterilize medical equipment at the facility.

Medline Industries, along with Sterigenics in Willowbrook, has been under increased scrutiny since it came to light its Waukegan facility had been emitting Ethylene oxide. Self-reported emission estimates from the Medline facilities indicate high levels of ethylene oxide release over the years.

Although Medline has agreed to install additional technology aimed at reducing ethylene oxide escaping through back vents and other places at the facility, any action taken by Medline, Vantage, the Illinois EPA or the USEPA may only address the Ethylene oxide issue moving forward but it will not remedy the years of damage residents and workers endured. In one area near Medline, based on government reports, the long-term cancer risk was nearly five times higher than the national average.

Effects of Ethylene Oxide Exposure

Ethylene Oxide (EtO) is a colorless gas that functions as a disinfectant, a pesticide, and a fungicide. Long-term exposure to small amounts of this chemical can lead to a variety of dangerous conditions, including:

  • Breast cancerBreast cancer
  • Stomach cancerStomach cancer
  • LeukemiaLeukemia
  • Hodgkin's diseaseHodgkin’s disease
  • Brain and nervous system damageBrain and nervous system damage
  • MiscarriagesMiscarriages
  • InfertilityInfertility
  • Bronchitis and emphysemaBronchitis and emphysema

Ethylene Oxide from Vantage Specialty Chemicals in Gurnee

Vantage Specialty Chemicals operates a chemical production facility at 3938 Porett Drive in Gurnee, Illinois. It uses ethylene oxide in the production of ingredients for personal care, food and consumer products, as well as industrial uses.

While the 2014 NATA reveals high risks of cancer across a large area near the Medline and Vantage facilities, these risks are likely understated. According to the US EPA, Vantage Specialties’ ethylene oxide emissions were not included in the latest NATA due to an error in the National Emissions Inventory. Without the Vantage emissions in its calculations, the cancer risks identified in the 2014 NATA for people living and working in the area were and continue to be dramatically underestimated.

Much like individuals surrounding the Sterigenics facility, there are several indications that a large number of Lake County residents and workers have been at an increased risk of cancer due to ethylene oxide emissions from Vantage and Medline. Although Vantage has reported “upgrading” its testing equipment to obtain “a better estimate of fugitive emissions”, any action taken by Vantage, the Illinois EPA or the USEPA will not remedy the years of damage residents and workers endured. Moreover, the facility’s self-reported regulatory data which was actually reported difficult to independently verify.

Representation for EtO Injuries in Lake County

As residents of Waukegan, Gurnee, Grayslake, and surrounding communities learn more about the potential dangers that affect people in the area, the attorneys of Tomasik Kotin Kasserman, LLC are providing legal assistance to victims of toxic chemical exposure. We are working to ensure that those who live and work in the area understand what is going on in the community and are able to take steps to address the harm caused by ethylene oxide emissions.

Contact Our Illinois Ethylene Oxide Exposure Attorneys

Exposure to ethylene oxide can result in serious injuries to individuals and families, leading to debilitating conditions that impact people's health for years. In many cases, this can lead to wrongful death. Tomasik Kotin Kasserman, LLC, has been retained and represent individuals who have been diagnosed with adverse health effects consistent with Ethylene oxide exposure.

At TKK, we understand the devastating financial impact that these illnesses can have on a family, especially when they involve life-long health problems and disability. If you have been exposed to ethylene oxide in your home or at work, we can provide you with the legal help you need. Contact our office at 312-605-8800 to set up a free consultation.

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