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Victims: “No faith” that Sterigenics will follow Matt Haller Act, protect public from cancerous emissions

Posted on: July 3rd, 2019 by Romanucci & Blandin

Victims urge IEPA to reject Sterigenics’ efforts to reopen

WILLOWBROOK, IL (July 1, 2019)–Victims suing Sterigenics, the scandal-ridden company found to be emitting cancer-causing ethylene oxide from its now-shuttered facility in suburban Willowbrook, are urging the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to reject the company’s attempts to reopen.

Sterigenics submitted a construction permit to the IEPA last week which included plans to install a new ethylene oxide emissions system that they claim will result in the “100% capture of all emissions,” a statement that community members facing health crises due to long-term exposure to Sterigenics’ ethylene oxide emissions don’t believe is possible. “We have no faith that Sterigenics will change its ways after years of willfully putting the public’s health in jeopardy. No amount of ethylene oxide exposure is safe,” said Colleen Haller, the widow of Matthew Haller, who died from stomach cancer, which has been liked to ethylene oxide exposure. “The IEPA must reject Sterigenics’ efforts to reopen and restart its dangerous activities. Matt’s law was passed because we never want another facility like this to harm people in Illinois ever again.”

Lawmakers and ethylene oxide safety advocates last week celebrated the bi-partisan passage of SB 1852, known as “The Matt Haller Act,” a measure that legislators called “a model bill” and which remedies the weak pollution control standards that allowed Sterigenics to poison the Willowbrook community for 34 years. Matt Haller is the first plaintiff involved in the lawsuit against Sterigenics to die. He lived about a mile from the Willowbrook Sterigenics facility. His widow, Colleen, and their 4-year-old son, still live a mile from the sterilization factory.

The new construction permit, which Sterigenics submitted to the IEPA on Monday, and which the IEPA Division of Records released on Wednesday, outlines the company’s plans for facility updates that they claim would totally eliminate ethylene oxide emissions by utilizing a “permanent total enclosure system” and a “continuous emissions monitoring system.” In the document, Sterigenics admits that “no CMS [continuous emissions monitoring system] has ever been demonstrated as applied to a sterilization facility like our Willowbrook plan,” while still touting the “100% capture” number. Sterigenics also asks in their latest permit request that IEPA “provide the certification, as part of the new legislation, that, once construction is complete, the facility will be using the technology that provides the greatest reduction in EO [ethylene oxide] emissions that is now available.” Sterigenics requests this “certification in conjunction with issuing the construction permit.”

“The IEPA and U.S. EPA have a long history of allowing Sterigenics to move under the radar, including allowing them to monitor and report their own emissions results. The company has had 34 years to implement the systems they now wish to test run on the Willowbrook community. They cannot and should not be allowed to do so when the health of community members is at risk,” said attorney Antonio Romanucci of Romanucci & Blandin, LLC, one of the law firms working on the Sterigenics lawsuits.

Last week, EPA official Bill Wehrum, who was heavily involved in the Sterigenics case, stepped down due to apparent ethical violations.

“All the new emissions systems in the world aren’t going to stop Sterigenics from being a bad actor. They forfeited their right of corporate citizenship and the loss of trust is irretrievable,” said Todd Smith of Power Rogers & Smith, another firm representing Sterigenics victims.

“Sterigenics has had emissions systems before, and bypassed them by opening facility doors and letting the gas out. Why would they act any differently now and do the right thing?” asked Steven Hart of Hart McLaughlin & Eldridge, also representing Sterigenics victims.

“Even with Matt Haller’s law in place, we will continue to fight for justice for Sterigenics victims past and future, because we’ve seen that this company will take a mile when given an inch from both the IEPA and U.S. EPA,” said Pat Salvi of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., another firm representing Sterigenics victims. “There are no guarantees that this system works. Sterigenics should not be playing Russian roulette with the community’s health yet again.”

Romanucci & Blandin, LLC, Hart McLaughlin & Eldridge, Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., Power Rogers & Smith, L.L.P., The Collins Law Firm, P.C., Tomasik Kotin Kasserman, Corboy & Demetrio, P.C, Goldberg Weisman Cairo, and Dolan Law are providing support for individuals and families who are suffering from cancer, birth defects and miscarriages among other catastrophic injuries due to these carcinogenic emissions from the Sterigenics International plant in Willowbrook, Illinois. Together, the firms are fighting to hold Sterigenics accountable for the reckless negligence that has resulted in the needless and continuous poisoning of men, women and children in Illinois for so many years.

About Romanucci & Blandin, LLC:

Romanucci & Blandin has been rated as a leading civil trial practice law firm in Chicago concentering in catastrophic personal injury, medical malpractice, police misconduct, and abuse and sexual misconduct cases. The attorneys at the Chicago law firm represent individuals and their families in catastrophic personal injury matters, wrongful death and workers’ compensation cases. The cases that are referred to Romanucci & Blandin involve accidents or injuries which occurred due to negligence and carelessness on the part of individuals, governmental bodies and corporations of all sizes. Since its inception over 20 years ago, Romanucci & Blandin has secured more than $500 million in verdicts and settlements on behalf of their clients across the country. For more information about Romanucci & Blandin, please visit www.rblaw.net or call (312) 458-1000.

About Hart McLaughlin & Eldridge:

Hart McLaughlin & Eldridge (“HME”) is a firm of trial lawyers specializing in mass tort and class action cases. The attorneys at HME practice on a nationwide basis in both federal and state courts and are actively involved in some of the largest and most significant mass tort and class action cases in the country. HME lawyers have particular expertise in toxic torts, carcinogen and environmental exposure, occupational and para-occupational exposure to toxins, and the fields of medical causation, oncology, and epidemiology. For more information about Hart McLaughlin & Eldridge please visit www.hmelegal.com or call (312) 955-0545.

About Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard:

Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard was established by attorney Patrick Salvi in 1982. With offices in Chicago and Waukegan, the firm has 18 lawyers and is supported by more than 35 staff members. The firm represents clients in a variety of medical malpractice, personal injury and wrongful death cases. Salvi Law has recovered more than $1.4 billion in verdicts and settlements on behalf of injured clients, including 240 cases resulting in awards of $1 million or more. In 2017, the firm won the largest compensatory personal injury jury verdict in the state of Illinois, $148 million for a dancer paralyzed by a collapsed pedestrian shelter at O’Hare International Airport. The firm has been routinely listed as one of the top law firms in the state with the highest reported settlement totals in the Jury Verdict Reporter / Chicago Daily Law Bulletin’s Settlement Survey. To contact Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, please call 312-372-1227 or visit www.salvilaw.com.

About Power Rogers & Smith L.L.P:

The attorneys at Power Rogers & Smith, L.L.P. have won more than $4 billion in verdicts and settlements for our clients. In fact, Chicago Lawyer magazine’s Annual Settlement Survey has named our firm the “No. 1 Plaintiff’s Law Firm” in most dollars earned for our clients eight years in a row. We handle a wide range of cases for plaintiffs including wrongful death, product liability and class actions. Through the tireless effort and sincere commitment of our attorneys, we have successfully obtained the life-saving compensation and justice our clients deserve, helping to provide them with the opportunity to move forward in their lives. Not only does our work improve the lives of our clients, it can also bring about important changes in the law by forcing companies to do things the right way and for regulatory agencies to crack down on practices that pose a danger to the public. When you need a winning attorney in your corner, call on an advocate at our firm. For more information, please visit www.prslaw.com or call 312-236-9381.

About The Collins Law Firm, P.C.:

The Collins Law Firm has built a nationwide reputation for fighting for the victims of environmental contamination. Based in Naperville, Illinois, the Collins Law Firm team of experienced trial lawyers takes the fight to corporations and works to help families by making their neighborhoods safe to live in again and getting them the compensation, they deserve. The Collins Law Firm attorneys have recovered more than $102 million in settlements and judgments related to environmental issues like vapor intrusion, groundwater contamination, and landfill and soil contamination. For more information about The Collins Law Firm, please visit www.collinslaw.com/Environmental- Litigation/, or call (630) 687-9838.

About Tomasik Kotin Kasserman:

Tomasik Kotin Kasserman cares about our clients. The attorneys at TKK have extensive experience working with victims of chemical exposure and are committed to not only achieving justice for those who have been harmed by corporations, but to enhancing public safety by improving policies, procedures, and regulations. While our record of success speaks for itself, our greatest satisfaction comes from seeing our clients reach a successful conclusion to their case that allows them to move past the damage that was done to them and their families. Find out more by giving us a call 312- 605-8800 or visiting us at TKKlaw.com. TKK: Achieving Justice, Enhancing Safety.

About Corboy & Demetrio, P.C.:

Corboy & Demetrio is one of the nation’s premier law firms. The personal injury law firm represents individuals and their families in serious personal injury and wrongful death cases and is renowned for its achievements in the courtroom and for its contributions to the community. The firm has acquired nearly $4 billion in settlements and verdicts and has attained more than 600 settlements and verdicts in excess of $1 million. To contact Corboy & Demetrio Attorneys Robert J. Bingle, William T. Gibbs or Kenneth T. Lumb, call 312-346-3191or toll free at 800-356-3191. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For more information about our law firm go to corboydemetrio.com.

About Goldberg Weisman Cairo:

Since 1978, GWC has established itself as one of Illinois’ Premier Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation Firms. We have recovered over two billion dollars on behalf of our injured clients and their families. GWC’s team of experienced trial lawyers are leaders in all aspects of civil litigation, including toxic tort and environmental pollution, auto accidents, construction accidents, medical malpractice, workers’ compensation, and nursing home abuse. With a proven record of success, both in and out of the courtroom, GWC has earned the respect of their adversaries and the deep gratitude of the thousands of clients that they’ve represented. To learn more about GWC, please visit our website at www.gwclaw.com or call us at 312-999-9999.

About Dolan Law:

Dolan Law is dedicated to advocating and representing victims who have been hurt, abused, and traumatized by the wrongful conduct of people and institutions. The trial attorneys here work diligently to obtain justice for their clients, and actively take on challenging cases that make a difference. Dolan Law prides itself on effectively making legislative change through its cases and thinking outside the box when it comes to serving its clients and have consistently obtained top verdicts and resolution in complex civil litigation

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