bush 013020GRAYSLAKE —State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) applauded local government agencies for creating a testing plan to address the continuing issue of ethylene oxide air pollution in Lake County.


“No one should have to worry about the air they breathe being safe from harmful chemicals,” Bush said. “Thanks to efforts from the Lake County Health Department, area residents will soon know the truth about their air quality.”


Due to concerns surrounding ethylene oxide emissions from Medline Industries in Waukegan and Vantage Specialty Chemicals in Gurnee, the Lake County Health Department, Village of Gurnee and City of Waukegan created a multi-phase ethylene oxide testing plan. The plan — which collected air samples to be analyzed by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry — was finalized last week.


The agency will produce a health risk assessment report, and the Illinois Department of Public Health will perform a cancer incidence study. The findings of both reports will allow Bush and others to understand how the chemical is impacting residents’ health and roll out a more comprehensive plan on how to tackle the health risks.


Bush has been a steadfast supporter of combatting the ethylene oxide health crisis. Last year, she successfully passed a law that established the strictest limits in the nation on ethylene oxide emissions. She also spearheaded a law that 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.


“While the measures we passed last year were major steps forward to ensure the air we breathe is safe, we needed to do more,” Bush said. “The data from these reports will give us the information we need to best protect our community from the harmful effects of ethylene oxide.”