Nearly two dozen new cases were filed Thursday as a lawsuit against Sterigenics expanded, alleging people exposed to ethylene oxide emitted by the medical sterilization plant have been left with serious or terminal medical conditions.
The additions bring the total number of cases in the suit to nearly 75, with some claiming the emissions of a cancer-causing gas caused leukemia, lymphoma, breast cancer, miscarriages and other diagnoses.
Sterigenics announced earlier this year it was leaving Willowbrook, despite a recent agreement allowing it to reopen months after it was shut down by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency due to the emissions.
“The magnitude of this case is evident by the growing number of families that have been devastated over the last three decades by Sterigenics’ negligence, and we will not rest until we secure justice for the wrongdoings of this company in our community,” Antonio Romanucci of Romanucci & Blandin, LLC said in a statement.
The company said the complaints "lack merit and Sterigenics will vigorously defend against them."
"As acknowledged by the DuPage County Court, Sterigenics consistently complied with applicable regulations regarding ethylene oxide emissions," the company said in a statement. "In fact, the company historically outperformed what the law requires in controlling its emissions.”
NBC 5 news anchor Rob Stafford, is among those who have sued the operator of the medical equipment cleaning plant.