Sterigenics announces plans to leave Willowbrook

Sterigenics announced plans on Monday to close its suburban Chicago medical equipment cleaning plant, citing an "unstable legislative and regulatory landscape in Illinois."

In a press release issued on Monday, Sterigenics said the decision to cease operations at its Willowbrook plant was made after the company failed to reached an agreement to renew the lease at its Quincy Street facility.

The Oak Brook-based company had faced battles with neighbors, legislators and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency over its use of the gas ethylene oxide.

The Illinois EPA shut the plant down after air quality monitoring spikes of ethylene oxide in surrounding neighborhoods.

A DuPage County judge ruled in early September that the facility could reopen after additional emission capture and control equipment was installed, per an agreement in July.

But Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin said in a statement that "Sterigenics got the message that we were never going to let them reopen their doors and poison our communities again."


Sterigenics also announced Monday that they will not pursue reopening its second location on Midway Drive in Willowbrook.

The company released the following statement on Monday:

"Sterigenics appreciates that the State of Illinois has clearly acknowledged the company's consistent record of regulatory compliance as well as the safety of the new controls we agreed to implement, and we made every effort to reach a constructive resolution. Unfortunately, inaccurate and unfounded claims regarding Sterigenics and the unstable legislative and regulatory landscape in Illinois have created an environment in which it is not prudent to maintain these critical sterilization operations in Willowbrook."

"Hospitals and patients around the United States and the world depend on Sterigenics for vital sterilized medical products, and we cannot provide them with the certainty they require while operating safely in a state that will suspend operations of a business despite the company's compliance with applicable rules and regulations. We are actively taking steps to ensure customer and patient needs continue to be met by our other facilities and are working with our employees throughout this transition."

"Sterigenics will continue to lead the way in industry safety by voluntarily implementing new controls at our other sterilization facilities. These controls will set a new standard for EO emissions and reaffirm our longstanding commitment to go beyond regulatory requirements."

"Sterigenics sterilizes and decontaminates products that protect over one million patients and consumers every day. Sterigenics understands and takes seriously our responbility to sterilize these vital healthcare products while protecting employees and the communities in which we operate. We are proud to be one of several companies that safely sterilizes critical and lifesaving medical products. We continue to work with communities and regulators to establish the strongest possible control environment across our network of EO sterilization facilities and challenge our industry peers to join us in upgrading each of the more than 100 EO sterilization facilities in operation across the country."