• Jun 21, 2024, 14:35 PM

Ethylene Oxide Update #60: June 21, 2024

This update includes:

• ATSDR releases public comment draft health consultation: Health Evaluation of Ethylene Oxide (EtO) Concentrations in Outdoor Air Near Medline Industries and Vantage Specialty Chemicals.
• Public Meeting to review report set for June 26, 2024 at Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep.
• Representative Schneider and Senators Duckworth and Durbin statement regarding the ATSDR report.

On March 26, 2019 the Lake County Health Department formally petitioned the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) to perform a health risk assessment based on air sampling results collected by a vendor hired by Lake County, the City of Waukegan and the Village of Gurnee. On June 21, 2024, over four years later, the public comment draft health consultation report has been released. 

The report and accompanying Lake County - Questions and Answers pdf can be found at: https://wwwn.cdc.gov/TSP/PHA/PHAListing.aspx?StateIndicator=IL

The accompanying Lake County - Questions and Answers pdf states:
• For Vantage, the possible lifetime excess cancer risk may be between 1 and 20 excess cancers per 10,000 people who breathed EtO for many years. 
o The amount of time required to create excess cancer risk depends on how old you are and how close you live or work to the facility. 
o To put the possible excess cancer risk for communities around Vantage and Medline in perspective, about 3400 people live within 0.7 miles of Vantage and 1300 people live within 0.7 miles of Medline. 
• Any potential increase in cancer risk from breathing EtO would be in addition to a person's baseline lifetime cancer risk from all causes.
o In the United States, the lifetime risk of getting cancer for a man is 1 in 2 and 1 in 3 for a woman.

Lifetime risk can also be expressed in percentages. Men have a 50% chance of getting cancer in their lifetime; women have a 33% chance. Based on the information in this report for those living within 0.7 miles of Vantage who breathed EtO for many years, the possible baseline lifetime cancer risk is increased by between 0.01% to 0.2% (((i.e.: (1 ÷ 10,000) x 100) and (20 ÷ 10,000) x 100))).* Lifetime excess cancer risks calculated using average or typical assumptions, rather than upper bound assumptions about exposure, showed no increased risk.

The ATSDR will host a public meeting to review the report on Wednesday, June 26, 2024, at Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep located at 3106 Belvidere Road, Waukegan, IL. The public availability session (open house) will be held from 5:00pm until 7:00pm that evening. The public meeting (formal presentation and Q&A at the end) will be held from 7:00pm until 8:00pm that evening.

Representative Schneider and Senators Duckworth and Durbin have released a statement regarding the ATSDR report. The statement can be found at: 

*Updated 6/27/24 to correct the calculation expressing the risk as a percentage.

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