Residents of a southwestern Chicago suburb unknowingly breathed in a cancer-causing gas for more than 30 years. Sterigenics International, a sterilization plant located in Willowbrook, Illinois, has come under fire for emitting ethylene oxide into the air since the early 1980s. Breathing in ethylene oxide can be dangerous and could lead to health complications, like cancer.

What is ethylene oxide?

Ethylene oxide is a known carcinogen that can be difficult to detect in the air. It is colorless and carries only a faint ether-like smell. At Sterigenics, employees used ethylene oxide to help sterilize healthcare equipment and devices.

Ethylene oxide has been linked to a variety of cancers, including breast cancer, myeloma, non-Hodgkin type lymphoma, and leukemia. Further, the chemical has been shown to cause other medical conditions such as irritation of the eyes or nose, birth defects, or miscarriage.

How did this happen?

A recent class-action lawsuit aims to prove Sterigenics International knew it was emitting unsafe levels of ethylene oxide into the Willowbrook air since 1984. Approximately 20,000 people live within just one mile of the Sterigenics plant. Further, schools, daycare centers, and other offices are within that one-mile radius as well. Recent studies have shown Willowbrook to have an increased rate of cancer.

What should I do next?

If you or someone you love have lived or worked in the Willowbrook area in the past 35 years and are now living with cancer or other complications, you could be eligible for compensation. The team at MacCloskey, Kesler & Associateshas decades of experience holding large corporations accountable for serious negligence, like Sterigenics International. Filing your claim does more than give you potential compensation – it is also an important step in assuring incidents like this do not happen again, to future generations.

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