Multiple people have filed suit against two Lake County factories, alleging the plants caused their health problems by releasing a cancer-causing chemical into the air.
Five people claimed their health problems were caused by ethylene oxide emissions from the Medline plant in Waukegan and Vantage Specialty Chemicals in Gurnee. A Sterigenics plant in Willowbrook was closed in February because of concerns over ethylene oxide emissions.
One Lake County resident battling cancer, Patty Bennett, said she lives approximately a mile from the Medline plant, and just over two miles from the Vantage plant.
Bennett said she filed a lawsuit to “get the word out.”
“Just to know that they have been emitting this dangerous ethylene oxide, and to know it causes Leukemia,” Bennett said. “The light bulb went on. I was actually in shock.”
Bennett’s attorney, Chris Dore, said ethylene oxide has been long known as a carcinogen.
“This is not a new piece of information,” he said. “The amount that was being emitted should have been known to be dangerous.”
Vantage Specialty Chemicals did not respond to a request for comment from NBC 5.
In a statement, Medline told NBC 5 that its first priority is the health of its employees, their families and the community.
“We have always operated in compliance with all laws and regulations, have always operated at or below our permitted levels and plan to defend any suits vigorously,” the statement read.