Ethylene Oxide Exposure Lawyer

Ethylene oxide is a cancer-causing chemical used in manufacturing plants across the country. Workers and nearby communities are especially vulnerable to breathing in and coming into contact with this harmful chemical. Utah, Pennsylvania, and Illinois are suffering from high ethylene oxide emissions, raising concerns about the safety of locals. These states have major manufacturing facilities that release alarming amounts of ethylene oxide. If you were exposed to ethylene oxide in one of these states and developed cancer, you may qualify for an ethylene oxide exposure claim. 

We are currently bringing legal action against producers of ethylene oxide on behalf of citizens of Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Utah. People in these states are at a greater risk of cancer due to the ethylene oxide plants. To start your potential claim, contact one of our ethylene oxide exposure attorneys right away. 

About Ethylene Oxide

Ethylene oxide is a colorless and flammable gas that is human-made. While it is not a naturally occurring chemical, it lingers for months in the atmosphere near companies that use or produce it. Businesses use ethylene oxide to make antifreeze, plastics, detergents, adhesives, and pharmaceuticals. Also, manufacturers rely on ethylene oxide to prevent harmful microorganisms from reproducing and causing infections in medical devices. The FDA reported that it is the most common method in the U.S., accounting for 50% of devices that require sterilization.

Signs of Ethylene Oxide Exposure

If you work with ethylene oxide or live near a facility that releases the chemical, you should understand the signs of acute exposure. Inhaling ethylene oxide may result in the following: 

  • Respiratory irritation 
  • Lung injury
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cyanosis

Long-Term Health Problems Linked to Ethylene Oxide

The hazards of ethylene oxide extend beyond temporary discomforts and symptoms. The EPA and other agencies recognize ethylene oxide as a known human carcinogen. Studies suggest that chronic exposure to ethylene oxide may cause: 

  • Cancers such as lymphoma, leukemia, breast cancer, stomach cancer, and more 
  • Reproductive effects
  • Memory loss
  • Mutagenic changes
  • Brain damage
  • Sensitization

In a news release in August 2022, the EPA estimated the increased risk of cancer related to ethylene oxide emissions from almost 100 commercial sterilizers. The agency found an elevated cancer risk at or above 100 additional cancer cases per million people exposed in residential areas for 23 facilities. 

The Lake Law Firm can help you file an ethylene oxide exposure claim if you were diagnosed with cancer or another illness due to prolonged exposure to the chemical. Companies in Utah, Pennsylvania, and Illinois that fail to follow guidelines to reduce ethylene oxide emissions are putting the health of hundreds of thousands at risk. 

Sandy and Salt Lake City, Utah

The EPA has expressed concern over ethylene oxide in Sandy, Utah. Sandy is the sixth-largest city in the state, with a population of over 96,000, and is located in Salt Lake County. However, this quaint city is home to a BD Medical facility that uses ethylene oxide to sterilize equipment. The facility has been operating since 2007, sterilizing IV catheters and other medical equipment with ethylene oxide. 

In July 2022, the EPA released cancer risk information for Sandy residents. According to the EPA’s map, the lifetime cancer risk for residents increases the closer they are to the BD Medical plant. The facility is in compliance with federal standards, but the EPA cautioned that these levels still pose long-term cancer risks for roughly 700 residents nearby. 

Sterigenics, one of the leading companies in ethylene oxide sterilization, also has a facility in Salt Lake City. 

Zelienople and Erie, Pennsylvania 

Zelienople, Pennsylvania, is another city with an elevated cancer risk for locals, as identified by the EPA. American Contract Systems, which manufactures surgical and medical equipment, has operated its facility in Zelienople since 2014. The facility estimated it used about 80 pounds of ethylene oxide a month. However, air quality managers have placed emissions from this facility at around 1,500 pounds annually since the facility opened. Although the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has worked with the company to control emissions, it may be too late for residents. 

Zelienople is not the only city in Pennsylvania in danger of cancer from ethylene oxide exposure. Ethylene oxide emissions from Cosmed Group LLC led the EPA to place Erie, Pennsylvania, on its list of most at-risk cities. EPA officials are uncertain how much ethylene oxide the Cosmed facility has released since it opened back in 1989. The area most affected by the ethylene oxide emissions in Erie contains a daycare center, a church, and several other commercial buildings. 

Cosmed finally installed new controls in August 2022 to lower its ethylene oxide emissions. 

Lake County and Willowbrook, Illinois 

Multiple areas in Illinois are hotspots for ethylene oxide emissions. Waukegan, Gurnee, and Willowbrook have been subjected to high levels of the carcinogenic chemical.

Vantage Specialties Chemicals in Gurnee and Medline Industries in Waukegan were significant sources of ethylene oxide emissions in Lake County, Illinois. In 2017, Medline reported it emitted 2,863 pounds of ethylene oxide. Vantage estimated that in 2017, it released 1,547 pounds of ethylene oxide, the majority of which came from leaking valves and other machinery. 

Sterigenics, a commercial sterilizer, polluted the air of Willowbrook with high concentrations of ethylene oxide from 1984 to 2019. Over 19,000 people lived within 1 mile of the Sterigenics facility in Willowbrook, including four schools and one daycare. Sterigenics introduced thousands of pounds of ethylene oxide into the air around Willowbrook. The EPA issued a letter to Sterigenics requesting immediate action to reduce emissions in 2018 as the facility was considered a public health hazard.  

Ethylene Oxide Exposure Claims Filed Nationwide 

If you worked in a plant that used or produced ethylene oxide or lived near one and later developed cancer, you may be entitled to compensation through an ethylene oxide claim. The EPA discovered several facilities in the U.S. were spouting unsafe amounts of the chemical. 

Ethylene oxide exposure lawyers have helped to file hundreds of lawsuits nationwide against companies that have irresponsibly compromised the health of entire communities. Many of these lawsuits have been filed in Utah, Pennsylvania, and Illinois. Plaintiffs allege companies were aware of the toxicity of ethylene oxide but failed to take steps to lower their emissions. 

Ethylene Oxide Exposure Settlements and Verdicts

Individuals have received significant settlements and verdicts to resolve ethylene oxide claims. 

In September 2022, a woman diagnosed with breast cancer won a $363 million ethylene oxide verdict against Sterigenics. 70-year-old Sue Kamuda alleged the emissions from the Willowbrook Sterigenics facility were responsible for her cancer. 

Also, Sterigenics reached a landmark ethylene oxide settlement with residents of Willowbrook, Illinois. The company agreed to pay $408 million to settle 870 lawsuits accusing its facility of exposing residents to ethylene oxide. Despite the hefty ethylene oxide settlement, Sterigenics maintains it was not a safety hazard for residents. 

Attorneys expect more lawsuits in the future as it can take years for cancer to surface in individuals exposed to ethylene oxide. As this litigation progresses, we could see more settlements and verdicts. 

Can I File an Ethylene Oxide UT, PA, and IL Claim? 

The Lake Law Firm is accepting cases for individuals who developed cancer after enduring long-term exposure to ethylene oxide. 

You may be eligible for an ethylene oxide exposure claim if: 

  • You lived nearby or worked in a facility that emitted ethylene oxide 
  • You were diagnosed with cancer following exposure to the chemical 

Several facilities contributed to high ethylene oxide emissions in Utah, Pennsylvania, and Illinois. While the above criteria can give you an idea if you qualify, you should speak with an attorney about the specific details of your claim. Contact our law firm today if you were exposed to ethylene oxide in Utah, Pennsylvania, or Illinois.  

How Much Compensation Can I Recover in an Ethylene Oxide Claim UT, PA, and IL?

If you or a loved one developed cancer after exposure to ethylene oxide in Utah, Pennsylvania, or Illinois, you may recover compensation for any or all of the following:

  • Past and future medical expenses;
  • Past and future pain and suffering;
  • Loss of wages; and
  • Other economic losses related to your injury

The amount you receive depends on your circumstances. When reaching a settlement or awarding a verdict, the company or jury may take into account the following: 

  • The severity of your injury 
  • How has the injury impacted your life 
  • The cost of your medical treatment 

An attorney experienced in toxic exposure lawsuits can determine the amount you deserve in your claim. 

When Is the Deadline to File My Lawsuit?

Filing your claim sooner rather than later ensures you won’t miss out on the opportunity to pursue a lawsuit. Your state’s statute of limitations, when your injury occurred, or the date you learned of your injury can all influence how long you have to file your case. 

Don’t hesitate to contact The Lake Law Firm today to start your ethylene oxide exposure UT, PA, and IL claim. 

How Our Law Firm Can Help You 

The Lake Law Firm was founded by Edward J. Lake, Esq., a personal injury lawyer for over 25 years. Our dedicated team of attorneys is committed to seeking justice on behalf of those who have suffered injury or death due to the negligence of others. Our experienced attorneys handle many different types of pharmaceutical drugs, medical devices, and other defective products. The lawyers in our firm have helped collect millions of dollars for their clients. An ethylene oxide exposure attorney will advocate for you and your rights. Please contact us for a free confidential case evaluation at (888) LAKE-LAW or submit an inquiry on this page.