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Health Department News

Posted on: August 27, 2019

Ethylene Oxide in Lake County, Illinois

A second round of outdoor air monitoring for ethylene oxide (EtO) began the week of October 21, 2019 near Vantage Specialty Chemicals in Gurnee and Medline Industries in Waukegan. In partnership with the Lake County Health Department and Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), the Village of Gurnee and City of Waukegan have contracted GHD Services, Inc. to conduct an additional 90-day period of air monitoring to determine levels of ethylene oxide (EtO) in the air. 

Samples are being collected from 12 monitoring sites every third day during the 90-day period, slated to end in January 2020. The monitoring canisters pose no health risks to residents and should not be damaged, moved, or interfered with. The canisters will be sent to a laboratory for analysis, and results are posted publicly to the EtO Monitoring Results web page as they are received.

View the press release for more details.

Background information

On November 2, 2018, the Lake County Health Department learned of concerns surrounding ethylene oxide emissions from Medline Industries in Waukegan and Vantage Specialty Chemicals in Gurnee. 

The Health Department immediately initiated communication with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) to better understand the situation and express the public’s desire for appropriate air monitoring and timely and transparent communication. The Health Department has maintained regular communication with these agencies, which have sole jurisdiction for regulating emissions.

The Health Department will continue to use all available resources to protect the health of Lake County residents and will continue to share information as it becomes available.

Contact information:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Region 5 Hotline:
U.S. EPA Website

Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA)

Brad Frost:
IEPA Website 

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)

Michelle College:
ATSDR Website 

Lake County Health Department Environmental Health


Additional information:

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