Willowbrook resident Sue Kamuda welcomed the governor and the Illinois Environmental Protraction Agency's decision Tuesday to push for the temporary shutdown of a 30-plus year old company that has been accused of pumping harmful emissions into the air.
“Even temporarily is a huge step in the right direction," she said. “There are so many people that have died, kids that have cancer, people that have had worse than me.”
Kamuda survived a breast cancer diagnosis that she now thinks had been caused by that medical sterilization company Sterigenics which the federal government recently said emitted carcinogenic levels of ethylene oxide into the air.
“I was surprised that they were even in our neighborhood,” Kamuda said.
Tuesday afternoon, politicians and many Willowbrook area residents--including former pro-baseball player Jim Thome--spoke out about Sterigenics.
“Enough is enough," Thome said. "We need to eliminate this, let’s all come together.”
The mother of Thome’s wife died of liver disease and the family has pointed the finger at Sterigenics.
“They need to leave this densely populated community and they need to leave it for good," Andrea Thome said. "A temporary shutdown will not satisfy us."
Sterigenics says its e-o emissions have tested below detection levels and went on to say that “unfortunately, the community has been exposed to a lot of inaccurate and misinterpreted information and we are committed to getting the real facts to residents.”
Kamuda still wants them gone permanently.
“It really needs to end," she said.
State Sen. John Curran says if the Illinois Attorney General’s Office files for a hearing about Sterigenics’ air quality Tuesday, the plant could be temporarily shutdown by the end of the week.
The attorney general’s office says it is still waiting for test results from the Illinois EPA.