On eve of expected court ruling on Sterigenics, another lawsuit claims company caused cancer

Another lawsuit accuses Sterigenics, the embattled company with facilities in southwest suburban Willowbrook,of knowing it was pumping the cancer-causing carcinogen, ethylene oxide, into surrounding communities, but did nothing to stop it.

The company sterilizes medical instruments.

Michael Sorich, a partner at the Cavanagh Law Group, is the attorney for 71-year-old Helen Ramos, a Willowbrook woman alleging her Leukemia diagnosis is the result of inhaling ethylene oxide for nearly 30 years, living 2½ miles away since the early 1990’s.

The lawsuit is based, in part, on a 2018 report that caused Sterigenics to be shut down, concluding nearby air holds "an elevated cancer risk." 

Ramos' attorney’s, in the lawsuit, called Willowbrook one of the most dangerous communities in the country for health, asking for undetermined damages to be determined by a jury.

“They've consciously disregarded the safety of the Willowbrook citizens and workers in that area for several years now,” Sorich said.

The company did not respond to a request for comment, but has previously said the lawsuits are without merit.

A DuPage County judge Friday is expected to rule on whether the facility will be allowed to re-open.