CASTEN APPLAUDS EPA AMBIENT AIR TESTING IN WILLOWBROOK, CALLS FOR MORE ACTION
(Downers Grove, IL) September 28, 2018 – Sean Casten, 6th District Congressional Candidate, applauded a recent decision by the US EPA to perform ambient air testing in the Willowbrook community. This decision comes after continued public pressure for action against Willowbrook company Sterigenics who was recently found to be emitting potentially cancer-causing chemicals near a residential area.
“I applaud the EPA for agreeing to ambient air testing. This is a step in the right direction, but there are still unanswered questions and we need to do more now,” said Casten. “As a scientist who believes in facts, it’s clear to me and others that ethylene oxide – the toxin emitted from Sterigenics – is giving people cancer in the Sixth Congressional District. Sterigenics should discontinue operation until testing is completed, and the facts are proven otherwise.”
Casten, a scientist, questioned the particulars of the EPA’s testing:
When will the stack testing data at Sterigenics be released?
Is the testing being done to the level of their permit, or the capability of their installed stack scrubbers?
Will the testing include point source tests, property line tests, and ambient air tests in the affected community under an appropriate range of climatic conditions such as wind speed and humidity?
What level of soil and groundwater testing will be done, and is there concern that ethylene oxide would be re-released into the atmosphere if soil is disturbed?
What will be the duration of the testing?
Will Sterigenics continue to operate until the testing is completed?
“There are lots of variables here, and as a scientist if I cannot easily ascertain answers to these basic questions how is the general public expected to readily understand and make informed decisions with so many unknowns remaining?”
“The other fact that’s astonishingly clear is Peter Roskam was unwilling to lift a finger to help. Peter Roskam has the ability to call on Donald Trump to shut down Sterigenics until the facility can be proven safe. Instead, he’s been busy voting to gut the board that reviews the very reports that showed ethylene oxide increases the risk of cancer 30-fold. Peter Roskam has kept silent at the behest of his corporate benefactors like the American Chemistry Council – the same folks who have spent over $200,000 on his re-election, when he should have been acting quickly to protect the residents of Willowbrook and neighboring communities.”
Casten has been vocal in his concern for the health and well-being of the citizens of Willowbrook and surrounding areas. Casten has repeatedly called out Peter Roskam for his silence on the issue, and his failure to protect the Environmental Protection Agency so it can monitor and address incidents like the one in question.
Peter Roskam claims to support the EPA, but his action – and lack thereof – contradict his own claims:
Voted for the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act which would block real scientists from participating in the Science Advisory Board, and stack the deck with chemical industry insiders. NRDC called the bill a “Gift to the Chemical Industry” and the bill was opposed by Clean Water Action, Earthjustice, League of Conservation Voters (LCV), Natural Resources Defense Council, and Sierra Club. The Atlantic called it one of “The Transparency Bills That Would Gut the EPA.”
Failed to speak out when the Trump Administration threatened to close EPA Region 5 offices in Chicago, and has does nothing to address the hiring freeze and loss of staff to work on issues like those at Sterigenics.
Sean also called for an immediate release by state and local officials of all historic and current data relating to emissions on site so that local people and businesses can evaluate their risks and take appropriate mitigation actions.