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It’s just a bill

Monday, Sep 16, 2019

* Um

A bipartisan coalition of advocacy groups and lawmakers unveiled a bill Friday that would phase out emissions of a cancer-causing gas in densely populated areas and near schools or day care centers by 2022.

The measure, House Bill 3888, was announced at a Chicago news conference and is the latest step in a highly publicized series of legislative and advocacy efforts to regulate or ban the use of ethylene oxide in Illinois. Ethylene oxide is a gas used in sterilization and manufacturing processes that has been linked to higher cancer rates in communities surrounding the companies that use it.

Sponsored by state Rep. Rita Mayfield, D-Waukegan, the bill proposes that by 2021, no sterilization company can use ethylene oxide within 5 miles of a region with a population density of at least 10 residents per square mile, or within the same distance from a school or day care.

Needless to say, if a facility has to be more than 5 miles from a region with a population density of at least 10 people per square mile, the location options are going to be pretty darned limited in Illinois.

* More likely, the bill is effectively a ban

Dawn Rex lives a mile from Medline Industries and near Vantage Chemicals, two plants that utilize EtO, in Waukegan. She believes the ethylene oxide emissions from their plants are what caused her 3-year-old son Samuel to get sick with leukemia. […]

“I think these facilities need to be shut down immediately, shut down as they shut down Sterigenics,” she said. […]

State Rep. Rita Mayfield of Waukegan says she thinks legislators can get the bill passed next month in October’s veto session.

“I don’t see how any legislator or any senator can go up on the House or the Senate floor and say, ‘We’re OK with poisoning children; We’re OK with poisoning communities.’ I just don’t see that happening,” she said.

* Meanwhile, the US EPA is dragging its feet

The EPA is no longer planning to propose toxic air pollution limits for carcinogenic ethylene oxide releases from medical sterilizer facilities this summer, as promised earlier.

Instead, the Environmental Protection Agency quietly announced Sept. 13 it would take a series of steps that will delay any action until later, including the release of an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking next month. This notice, on which the agency will take public comment, will “outline the potential approaches that EPA could take in its upcoming rule, along with the technologies available for controlling ethylene oxide emissions.”

The agency said it plans to issue the actual proposed rule “in the coming months,” according to a separate statement.

* And the FDA is taking a look at the potential for shortages

The FDA warned last week about the potential for more medical device shortages, this time due to the temporary shutdown of a Sterigenics ethylene oxide (EO) plant outside Atlanta, Ga. […]

The Illinois EPA shut down the Willowbrook plant in February, citing excess EO emissions. Last week, a DuPage County judge approved an agreement that the state attorney general and Sterigenics reached in July that would allow Sterigenics to reopen the Willowbrook plant if it complies with a stringent new state law on EO emissions.

The Willowbrook plant sterilized 594 types of devices, including sutures, clamps, knives, stents and needles. Its closure prompted the FDA to warn of possible device shortages and sent medtech companies large and small scrambling to find other sterilization facilities. Some larger companies were able to take the task in-house or farm it out to other contract sterilization plants. Others were not so lucky.

In April, officials from Cardinal Health (NYSE:CAH), and Guerbet (EPA:GBT) advised customers that certain devices were already in short supply or may experience shortages. Teleflex Medical OEM, which had seven million devices sterilized per year at the Willowbrook plant, warned of shortages as well.

* Related…

* A breakdown of the latest issues surrounding the Sterigenics plant

* Cancer Lawsuits Mount Against Illinois Companies

- Posted by Rich Miller        

11 Comments
  1. - bhartbanjo - Monday, Sep 16, 19 @ 1:26 pm:

    “Meanwhile, the US EPA is dragging its feet…”

    After all, there are very fine chemicals on both sides.


  2. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Sep 16, 19 @ 1:41 pm:

    To the Post,

    Looking at this issue, there are no winners, and winning here makes big loses also possible for a more important need in medicine.

    I dinged Leader Durkin, first for saying his bill was “fine”, then throwing anyone big named “Durkin”, but mostly the Governor, for the issue being unresolved.

    I asked that all sides rally, make it a cause gif thd locals, “Durkin”, a bipartisan solution, and make it a legislative solution, calling the governor on “signing anything passed”

    See, here’s where it gets all messed up, and at the same time reasonable to see the non-solution being exactly how it “should” play out.

    Is the bill constitutional?

    “Who” is going to oppose the bill, and “why would they?”.

    The medical and health issues are existing.

    So, you pass this. Ok. Let’s say it does pass, not a guarantee. The medical and hospital implications of what they need, how will this bill impact the necessary health risks that may arise?

    Right now, “it’s just a bill”. The education on its merits versus the wants of the constituents, even the real life issues that could… could effect hospitals and those needing care… now is the time… for an honest discussion.

    Durkin can lead this discussion. Champion the horrendous options, because if anyone sees a clear winner here, I can’t.

    At least we’re beyond the “my bill was perfect, y’all are… whatever.”

    It’s discussion time. It’s just a bill. There won’t be decisive victories here. Measure where the losses are going to be, and everyone pulling together acknowledging the lousy options for an end game.


  3. - MarginofEra - Monday, Sep 16, 19 @ 1:56 pm:

    OW, There’s a supply chain issue, not a sterilization issue. Making FDA and companies work to shift to safer (and yes, in cases more costly to companies) alternatives is what is at stake. Externality here is communities bearing the cost. Hospitals have started shifting away from ethylene oxide. In committee on another bill the association offered it’d take a certain number of months to do so anyway.


  4. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Sep 16, 19 @ 1:58 pm:

    ===There’s a supply chain issue===

    No one sick or hurt cares, except for the issue of what is causing their illness… be it a supply chain or sterilization.

    Discussing these things will educate.


  5. - Shytown - Monday, Sep 16, 19 @ 3:43 pm:

    == now is the time… for an honest discussion. == Agree OW.


  6. - Expose Yourself to Art (Not ETO) - Monday, Sep 16, 19 @ 3:53 pm:

    == Making FDA and companies work to shift to safer (and yes, in cases more costly to companies) alternatives==

    ETO Bans will drive the market to create less toxic approaches to sterilization in densely populated areas and prices will come back down.


  7. - Looking down the Road - Monday, Sep 16, 19 @ 10:39 pm:

    OW - You are right, but — everyone pulling together acknowledging the lousy options for an end game.–

    Not going to happen. This is Illinois … Its going to be –make that guy over behind the tree pay.—


  8. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Sep 16, 19 @ 10:42 pm:

    ===Not going to happen. This is Illinois … Its going to be –make that guy over behind the tree pay.—===

    I have no idea in what context you think this makes sense, but, if you think this makes you seem smart, good on you, lol


  9. - Stuntman Bob's Brother - Monday, Sep 16, 19 @ 11:13 pm:

    The legislature should double down and pass a bill that forbids use, anywhere in the state, of any medical device sterilized via the use of EO, no matter where the sterilization is performed. That way, they won’t look like NIMBY’s.


  10. - Skeptical - Tuesday, Sep 17, 19 @ 5:55 am:

    Dear EPA, could you be dragging your feet because you know that the Ethylene Oxide IRIS assessment that has caused all this is deeply flawed? Thats what the Texas Environmental Commission says. And thats what two independent EPA advisory boards have said. EPA, could you please review this IRIS assessment again? You have already scred a lot of residents. And because of this one deeply flawed report we may have serious medical device shortages.


  11. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Sep 17, 19 @ 6:41 am:

    ===You have already scred a lot of residents. And because of this one deeply flawed report we may have serious medical device shortages.===

    … and yet the cancer cluster around the facility must be fake news?

    You forgot that. Must’ve been an oversight.


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