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Posted on: August 27, 2019

Ethylene Oxide in Lake County, Illinois

The Lake County Health Department, Village of Gurnee, and City of Waukegan have begun receiving initial results from the second phase of outdoor air monitoring for ethylene oxide (EtO) near Vantage Specialty Chemicals in Gurnee and Medline Industries in Waukegan. 

The second phase of outdoor air monitoring in Lake County began October 26, 2019 and concluded January 22, 2020. Samples were collected from 12 sites every third day during the 90-day period. The final results from this phase of monitoring are expected mid-February and will be available to the public via the Health Department’s website, The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) funded the monitoring. 

A third and final 30-day period of monitoring will begin after Medline resumes its EtO sterilization operations. Monitoring is expected to resume in February, but the exact date depends on when the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) has tested and approved Medline’s new emissions controls and the facility is fully operational. During the final phase, samples will be collected at the same 12 sites that were monitored during the second phase.

Residents seeking additional information about EtO in Lake County are encouraged to visit the Health Department’s website,

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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