Edly-Allen Bill to Ban Ethylene Oxide Passes House

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Close-up view of the definition of risk.

Press release from the Office of State Representative Mary Edly-Allen

For immediate release
Nov. 4, 2019

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Legislation co-sponsored by state Rep. Mary Edly-Allen, D-Libertyville, to phase out the use of ethylene oxide in sterilization facilities within 5 miles of schools and densely populated communities like those in Lake County passed the House last week and will be considered by the Senate.

“The concerns about the safety of ethylene oxide are growing as more and more children living around these facilities are diagnosed with cancer,” said Edly-Allen. “We should not allow facilities using a known carcinogen to operate in our communities, near our schools and playgrounds, and where we raise our families. This bill is an historic step to ending the use of this dangerous chemical and protecting our families from unnecessary exposure and harm.”

Ethylene oxide (EtO) is a known carcinogen that is used to sterilize medical equipment and in several household and personal care items. Those exposed to EtO, including workers and those who live around facilities using EtO, are at a higher risk of lung infections, cancer and seizures.

House Bill 3888 drastically limits the amount of EtO that may be emitted from facilities and bans the use of the substance near day cares, schools or densely populated communities.

“I’m grateful to the advocates and local families who recognized the dangers of EtO and would not take no for an answer in the fight for clean air and healthy communities,” Edly-Allen added. “I urge the Senate to take immediate action and help us begin the process of cleaning our air and ensuring that every child in Illinois can grow up in a safe and healthy environment.”