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Sterigenics Plant Faces Air Pollution Lawsuit

A suburban Chicago plant that sterilizes medical instruments faces a lawsuit alleging air pollution violations.

Democratic Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Republican DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin filed suit Tuesday against Sterigenics U.S. It includes one count of "causing, threatening or allowing air pollution" and one count of public nuisance carrying a health risk at its Willowbrook plant.

Sterigenics said it was disappointed the attorney general "has chosen to assert 'air pollution' and 'public nuisance' claims against the company's Willowbrook facility."

"The lawsuit filed today expressly recognizes that Sterigenics has operated, and continues to operate, well within the limits of its permit and the regulations," the company's statement said. "Any action brought against a business operating well within regulatory limits sets an extremely bad precedent."

Sterigenics has for decades used the potent ethylene oxide gas to sterilize instruments and pharmaceutical drugs near populated neighborhoods. The lawsuit seeks to halt the pollution and an emissions limit that meets health standards.

Madigan has accused GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration of hiding federal data it received on the plant last winter. Rauner says Madigan is blaming him for political purposes.

"We will work with public officials to achieve the appropriate limits to allay the concerns of the community and the regulatory agencies," Sterigenics said. "However, we will vigorously defend ourselves against this lawsuit."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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