Cancer-Causing Gas in Lake County

We demand an end to the emission of ethylene oxide in our communities. This chemical attacks DNA in human cells and causes cancer. There is no safe level.

Our Plan

End ethylene oxide emissions in and around our communities.

Sign Our Petition

Ask local leaders to end ethylene oxide emissions near our homes and schools.

Key Facts
  • Vantage Specialty Chemicals in Gurnee, IL and Medline Industries in Waukegan, IL are releasing ethylene oxide gas into the air near residential areas in Gurnee and Waukegan.
  • Ethylene oxide causes cancer, including breast cancer, stomach cancer, lymphomas, and leukemias.
  • NO company or person should be allowed to release a cancer causing chemical into the community.

Help Spread the Word!

View the EPA FAQ on ethylene oxide. Many community members are still in the dark and the polluters want to keep it that way. Knowledge is power.

Chicago Tribune Investigative Series
Other News
Local Leaders

Kristina Kovarik

Mayor, Gurnee
Jeanne Balmes
Greg Garner
Thomas Hood
Cheryl Ross
Quin O'Brien

Sam Cunningham

Mayor, Waukegan
Sylvia Sims Bolton
Alderman, 1st Ward
Patrick Seger
Alderman, 2nd Ward
Greg Moisio
Alderman, 3rd Ward
Dr. Roudell Kirkwood
Alderman, 4th Ward
Edith Newsome
Alderman, 5th Ward
Keith Turner
Alderman, 6th Ward
Felix Rivera
Alderman, 7th Ward
Dr. Lynn Florian
Alderman, 8th Ward
Ann Taylor
Alderman, 9th Ward
State Leaders

Melinda Bush

Senator, 31st District

Bush chairs the environmental committee and represents much of Gurnee. She has been a strong ally in the fight against EtO pollution.

Terry Link

Senator, 30th District

Link is the Assistant Majority Leader in the Senate. He represents most of Waukegan and parts of Gurnee. Both Vantage and Medline are in his district.

Daniel Didech

Representative, 59th District

Didech represents areas around Park City, including Medline.

Rita Mayfield

Representative, 60th District

Mayfield represents much of Waukegan and some parts of Gurnee. Vantage is in her district.

Joyce Mason

Representative, 61st District

Mason represents much of Gurnee.

Federal Leaders

Dick Durbin

United States Senator

Tammy Duckworth

United States Senator

Brad Schneider

United States Representative, 10th District

Represents much of Waukegan and some of Gurnee. Vantage and Medline are in his district.

Lauren Underwood

United States Representative, 14th District

Represents much of Gurnee.

IRIS Report
IRIS ReportDecember 2016

The Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) report on ethylene oxide. IRIS is the gold standard review process and one of the few agency functions not substantially corrupted by industry. This has made it a target of industry for decades.

A summary of the IRIS findings with less technical information.

IRIS Report AppendicesDecember 2016

Appendices to the IRIS report. Of note, Appendix K summarizes industry objections to the IRIS findings and provides EPA rebuttal to those objections. Many of those objections are still repeated in industry talking points, despite the EPA rejecting them many years ago.

Press Releases

Questioning the use of ethylene oxide to sterilize N95 respirators, which experts have indicated is unsafe.

Expressing alarm about the findings of a study on EtO markers present in the blood of residents.

Announcing a rally at Senate President John Cullerton's office to demand HB3888 be passed out of committee.

Requesting that local governments and politicians endorse HB3888.

Demanding the shutdown of EtO operations at Medline and Vantage in response to air monitoring results.

Town Hall Slides

Stop EtO history & current status.

Stop EtO in Lake County community forum slides.

Lake County Health Department

This page contains many links to EtO monitoring data from the Lake County Health Department. Among those links are a continuously updated spreadsheet and links to wind rose maps containing results. The spreadsheet is less useful than the map documents because without wind information, the numbers are close to meaningless. Listing the numbers in a spreadsheet also temps you to do scientifically non-sensical things like compute an average. Our recommendation is to look at the individual wind rose maps and the results for days when the wind was blowing toward a cannister.


Results for testing paid for by Medline.


Results for testing paid for by Vantage.