Residents discuss legal options after claims of cancer-causing emissions from suburban plant

An emotional meeting in the southwest suburbs over the future of a company that uses a toxic chemical.

Sterigenics International in Willowbrook is a medical sterilization service provider that has been emitting a known carcinogen – Ethylene Oxide – into the air for decades.

On Wednesday night, a group of 50 concerned residents met with local attorneys to talk about legal issues going forward and how to shut down the company.

Many in attendance either have cancer themselves or have family members who have been diagnosed with cancer or other major health issues.

Air samples tested by the EPA showed the Willowbrook facility posts a cancer risk that is 64 times higher than the acceptable limits.

Ethylene Oxide has been on the EPA's list of carcinogens since the mid 1980's but two years ago the government linked it more conclusively to breast and blood cancer.

Several people have already filed lawsuits against the Sterigenics and a class action suit may soon be filed.

One woman says she's lived in the area for 40 years and has experienced respiratory problems amongst other ailments.

“I’ve had blood in the urine and I’ve had things that I commonly don’t have. Just living in the area we loved it so much and I told my husband like a nightmare I actually was thinking of leaving,” says Kathy Scumaci.

FOX 32 reached out to Sterigenics for comment and have not heard back. They have said previously that they are not breaking federal laws.

The Illinois EPA says additional pollution controls were recently installed and more testing is being done.