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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. The results are available to the public via the Health Department’s website, Additional results will be posted as they are received.

Samples are being collected from 12 sites every third day during the 90-day period, which was originally scheduled to end in January 2020. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) is funding the monitoring. The Health Department has been notified that Medline Industries in Waukegan has not been operating since December 13, 2019, and that Medline expects to be testing their emissions controls and resuming operations the week of January 27, 2020. Due to Medline not operating, the Health Department is working to extend the monitoring into February to assure that monitoring data reflects Medline’s new emissions controls. 

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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