After two months of outrage and confusion, EPA officials on Thursday night met face-to-face with hundreds of people demanding answers about toxic gas spewing from the Sterigenics facility in suburban Willowbrook.
“I had two different types of cancer and it's been since we've been in this neighborhood,” said Claire Vanhorn. “We the people have to take control and we have to say enough is enough.”
Willowbrook's mayor is also raising concerns.
“All I want to know is are my people safe?” said Mayor Frank Trilla.
Sterigenics is a company that sterilizes medical supplies and it's been releasing the cancer-causing chemical ethylene oxide into the air since the 1980's.
The EPA back in August warned the ethylene oxide levels were high and residents began blaming the company for cancers and infertility.
Mallory Clark says she believes her three autoimmune diseases and persistent migraines are from living close to the facility.
“I can’t work, I can’t go to school. I’m only 23 and I’ve had to pretty much give up my whole life,” she said.
Then last week the EPA reversed course saying its initial estimates of ethylene oxide levels may have been inflated and that they may have been detecting a different chemical.
EPA officials say they are running new tests and that they share the community's concerns.
Sterigenics released a statement reading in part: "The system has failed the citizens of Willowbrook by allowing flawed data measured against an illogical standard to be accepted as fact. The real travesty has been the needless fear and worry about safety that good people of Willowbrook have had to wrongly endure."
The EPA official says more test results could come back as early as January.