Illinois Sterigenics plant could reopen to aid COVID-19 fight

Illinois Sterigenics plant could reopen to aid COVID-19 fight

The DuPage Policy Journal received news from an industry source about the reopening of the Sterigenics plant in Willowbrook to aid the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The Sterigenics plant in Georgia has been reopened in the emergency situation to fulfill the demand of the medical equipment, according to the news sources.

The unidentified source told the Journal that there had been rumblings about the reopening of the Illinois plant. The company will need immediate support and cooperation from the state to open the plant again. The Sterigenics facility in Willowbrook was closed down in October 2019 due to the huge public criticism. The company decided to leave due to the increasing legislative and regulatory pressure.

The company was using Ethylene Oxide (EtO) to sterilize medical equipment. Some reports suggested that the use of EtO was rising the risks of cancer in the locality. The sterilized items including syringes and catheters have been desperately needed to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic at the moment. The company voluntarily closed its Georgia facility in August 2019.

Mike Boyce, the chairman of the Cobb County Commission, authorized the emergency reopening of the plant in Georgia on Wednesday on a limited contingency basis. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urged Brian Kemp, the governor of Georgia, to allow the reopening of the plant to fulfill the risen demand of the medical equipment.

The FDA and JB Pritzker, the governor of Illinois, have not talked about the reopening of the Sterigenics plant in Willowbrook yet. A judge gave a consent order in favor of the opening of Sterigenics in Illinois when it decided to close down its facility. But the company decided not to open its facility in Illinois due to the unstable legislative and regulatory landscape. The company added that it could not operate in such an environment.

Senior editor of the Chicago Morning Star

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