Sterigenics Ethylene Oxide Cancer Claims

If you or someone you love developed cancer or another illness after living or working near a Sterigenics sterilization facility, you may be entitled to compensation.

Sterigenics plants across the country have come under fire for their emissions of ethylene oxide, a chemical that has been linked to cancer and other health conditions by the EPA. These facilities have been subject to significant regulatory actions by state and federal agencies, as well as a growing number of lawsuits from victims.

At Levy Konigsberg, we’re leveraging our experience handling some of the nation’s largest and most high-profile toxic exposure cases to help victims who’ve been harmed by Sterigenics’ dangerous emissions. If you lived or worked near a Sterigenics plant anywhere in the nation and developed blood cancer, breast cancer, or other health complications, we want to help.

Our Sterigenics cancer lawyers are reviewing cases nationwide. Call for a FREE consultation.

Sterigenics EtO Emissions Linked to Cancer

Sterigenics is a medical sterilization company that using a fumigant gas called ethylene oxide (EtO) to sterilize medical equipment.

An EPA-registered antimicrobial pesticide, EtO is used primarily to sterilize medical equipment, spices, and other items that can’t be sterilized with steam. And while EtO is effective for its intended purpose, growing scientific evidence has shown it to be a carcinogen that poses serious community health risks.

In fact, a Draft Risk Assessment released by the EPA in 2020 found that “inhaling ethylene oxide over many decades can cause cancer risks of concern.” Other key findings from the assessment:

  • Long-term exposure to EtO can cause cancers such as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, myeloma, lymphocytic leukemia, and breast cancer.
  • Children exposed to ethylene oxide are more likely to develop cancer later in life.
  • Chronic EtO exposure can cause memory loss, impaired coordination, and other physical and neurological symptoms.

Ethylene oxide is most dangerous when it is present in the air, and people who live near facilities which release EtO may be at risk for exposure-related health consequences depending on factors such as how much EtO is released, how close they live to the facility, and how long they lived there.

Because of these risks, sterilization plants like Sterigenics have a duty to comply with regulations and take reasonable measures to avoid polluting nearby communities with harmful, cancer-causing emissions. Unfortunately, Sterigenics and other commercial sterilizers have failed to uphold that duty.

Learn more about Ethylene Oxide Exposure Lawsuits.

Multi-Million Settlement & Verdict Over Sterigenics Willowbrook Plant

While Sterigenics has multiple medical sterilization facilities across the U.S., one plant has made headlines as its most infamous – the Sterigenics Willowbrook plant.

Initially opened in 1984, the Sterigenics plant in Willowbrook, Illinois has been the subject of significant regulatory actions, hundreds of lawsuits, and a high-profile jury verdict and community settlement:

  • In late 2017, a report published by the EPA found that cancer risks in areas surrounding the Sterigenics Willowbrook facility were nine times the national average.
  • In February 2019, data released by the U.S. EPA showed EtO levels near the Willowbrook facility in January were the highest readings ever recorded by the agency.
  • In February 2019, regulators from the Illinois EPA issued a Seal Order to immediately shut down the plant “to prevent emissions which present an imminent and substantial endangerment to residents and off-site workers in the Willowbrook community.” Sterigenics was ordered to make changes to reduce its elevated emissions, but ultimately opted to not reopen the facility.
  • In September 2021, a Cook County jury awarded $363 million to a woman who developed breast cancer from her long-term exposure to the plant’s ethylene oxide emissions. The woman had lived within several hundred yards of the Willowbrook plant for over 30 years.
  • In January 2022, Sterigenics and its parent company Sotera announced that it would pay $408 million to settle more than 870 lawsuits from victims who were diagnosed with cancer and other illnesses caused by EtO emissions from the company’s Willowbrook facility.

Do I Live Near a Sterigenics Sterilization Plant?

While the Sterigenics facility in Willowbrook is now closed, Sterigenics owns at least 8 other medical sterilization facilities that the EPA has identified as currently in operation. These include:

  1. Sterigenics U.S., Inc. 4801-63 50th Street, Los Angeles (Vernon), CA
  2. Sterigenics US, LLC 687 Wanamaker Avenue, Ontario, CA
  3. Sterigenics U.S. LLC, 2971 Olympic Industrial Court SE, Suite 116, Atlanta, GA
  4. Sterigenics US, LLC, 10821 Withers Cove Park Drive Charlotte, NC
  5. Sterigenics-Santa Teresa, 2400 Airport Road, Santa Teresa, NM
  6. Sterigenics US LLC 84 Park Road, Queensbury, NY
  7. Sterigenics U.S. LLC, 1302 Avenue T, Grand Prairie, TX
  8. Sterigenics- Salt Lake Facility, 5725 West Harold Gatty Drive, Salt Lake City, UT

Like the Willowbrook plant, these Sterigenics sterilization sites have faced criticism from experts and advocates, and some have faced regulatory actions and litigation. For example:

  • Sterigenics, Vernon, CA. in August 2022, the Los Angeles County Supervisor and other officials called for the shutdown of a Sterigenics plant in Vernon, Ca after the facility was labeled “high risk” by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) over its EtO emissions.
  • Sterigenics, Ontario, CA. In 2022, the South Coast AQMD issued violations to Sterigenics Ontario for discharging harmful quantities of air contaminants and for failing to maintain equipment, failing to timely report equipment breakdowns, and submitting incomplete breakdown reports.
  • Sterigenics, Santa Teresa, NM. In January 2021, the New Mexico Attorney General filed suit against Sterigenics over claims that EtO emissions from its Santa Teresa facility increased the risk of cancer among local residents.
  • Sterigenics, Atlanta, GA. In September 2019, the FDA reported on the temporary closure of the Sterigenics facility in Atlanta, GA for the purpose of construction to reduce EtO emissions. Cancer lawsuits and property damage claims against Sterigenics arising from EtO exposure in the Atlanta community are ongoing.
  • Sterigenics Facilities Nationwide. In December 2021, the EPA expanded its Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) reporting requirements to include 29 sterilization facilities, including all eight Sterigenics locations, that were not currently reporting on EtO releases.

Call For a FREE Consultation:

Levy Konigsberg is an award-winning trial practice known for taking on some of the nation’s most complex and consequential cases involving toxic exposure. We’ve litigated against powerful corporations, fought side by side with environmental and health and safety advocates, and have recovered over $3 billion in compensation for our clients.

Now, we’re using our experience to help victims harmed by Sterigenics sterilization plant emissions fight for the justice they deserve.

If you or someone you love developed cancer or another serious health condition after living or working near a Sterigenics sterilization facility, Levy Konigsberg wants to help. Our Sterigenics cancer lawyers are reviewing cases nationwide. Call for a FREE consultation.


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