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Congressman Brad Schneider

Representing the 10th District of Illinois

Schneider Calls for Suspension of Operations at Medline Facility in Lake County

June 21, 2019
Press Release

Today, Congressman Brad Schneider (D-IL) issued the following statement after the release of preliminary results of ambient air monitoring for ethylene oxide (EtO) by the Lake County Public Health Department:

“Given the disturbing new data released today by the Lake County Public Health Department, I believe there is now sufficient evidence to call for an immediate suspension of operations at the Medline sterilization facility in Waukegan until unsafe levels of EtO emissions are verifiably eliminated.

“These preliminary results mirror the data collected at Sterigenics in DuPage County. In that instance, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency ordered a seal of the facility. I urge Governor Pritzker to promptly review the situation in Lake County and exercise similar discretion.

“The test results released today again highlight the inexplicable and inexcusable refusal of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to undertake ambient air monitoring in Lake County, forcing our local communities to undertake and fund testing on their own. U.S. EPA should have the lead responsibility for this process, but instead has let down the people they should be serving. Moving forward, I hope the U.S. EPA will positively respond to our calls for public meetings in Lake County – similar to the ones they held in DuPage County –  sessions that inform residents, answer questions, and assure the public they are taking all necessary steps to protect the safety of our air for all communities.”

 

Background:

On Thursday, an amendment authored by U.S. Representative Brad Schneider (D-IL) to fund public outreach activities by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in communities affected by ethylene oxide (EtO) emissions passed the U.S. House of Representatives and was included in H.R. 3055. A vote on passage of this larger appropriations package is expected in the coming days. More information is available on Schneider’s website.

Previously in May, Schneider secured funding for ambient air monitoring of Ethylene Oxide (EtO) in the appropriations bill for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The $5.6 million increase for EPA’s compliance monitoring program would support EPA air monitoring for communities identified by the National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA) as facing high levels of EtO emissions, including those in Lake County. More information is available on Schneider’s website.