Illinois report finds more cancer than expected near plant

Published: Mar. 31, 2019 at 5:18 AM CDT
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A new state report has found that women and girls living near a suburban Chicago plant had higher than expected rates of certain cancers associated with ethylene oxide exposure.

The Illinois Department of Public Health released the data Friday. The Chicago Tribune reports it's the first tally of cancer cases in west suburban communities near the Sterigenics facility. Gov. J.B. Pritzker shut down the plant last month after high concentrations of the cancer-causing chemical were detected. The company uses the gas to sterilize medical equipment and other products.

Oak Brook-based Sterigenics says the state lacks information about other potential cancer factors and said there are other ethylene oxide sources, including vehicle exhaust.

Elected officials from both political parties say the state report provides stronger evidence Sterigenics shouldn't be located in a densely populated area.