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Bush legislation cracks down on ethylene oxide emitters

bush 053019 2SPRINGFIELD – Residents in Lake County can breathe a sigh of relief after two bills sponsored by State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) that crack down on the toxic chemical ethylene oxide advanced out of the Illinois Senate today.

“Lake County residents can soon rest assured that the air they’re breathing is safe from ethylene oxide,” Bush said. “These new regulations will allow the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to keep a close eye on Medline and Vantage and make sure they’re meeting these strict environmental safeguards.”

Senate Bill 1852 puts restrictions on facilities like Medline and Sterigenics that use ethylene oxide for sterilization. The measure requires facilities to reduce emissions by 99.9 percent; sets emissions, dispersion and ambient air testing protocols; strengthens seal order implications and prevents future facilities from being built near schools and parks.

Senate Bill 1854 requires Vantage Specialty Chemicals, a Lake County manufacturer that uses ethylene oxide in its products, to put in place several environmental safeguards in order to continue operating. It requires Vantage to have an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency-approved emission monitoring plan and dispersion modeling in order to receive a site-specific permit for ethylene oxide emissions.

Last year, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry released a report showing that the areas around Sterigenics in DuPage County and Medline in Lake County have increased rates of cancer due to ethylene oxide emissions.

“When it comes to ethylene oxide, public safety has to be the top priority,” Bush said. “These new restrictions prioritize the health and safety of Illinoisans while still allowing companies that use ethylene oxide to continue operating so long as they do so in a responsible manner.”

Sen. Melinda Bush

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31st Senate District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Appropriations II; Education; Environment and Conservation (Chairperson); Government Accountability/Pensions; Revenue; Transportation; Subcommittee on Capital.

Biography: Born March 18, 1956; former member of the Lake County Board, Forest Preserve Board and former Grayslake village trustee; married (Andy) with one adult son (Chris).

Associated Representatives:
Joyce Mason
Sam Yingling