Information Regarding Ethylene Oxide

The Village of Gurnee continues to work with county, state and federal officials to address concerns regarding the use of the chemical ethylene oxide (EtO), at the Vantage Specialty, Inc facility located at 3938 Porett Drive, Gurnee. The Village of Gurnee remains in regular communication with state and federal officials to share the concerns of the community and to receive agency and legislative updates.  The following updates have been posted by the Village of Gurnee since an article in the Chicago Tribune was published on November 2nd, 2018:

Ethylene Oxide Updates:

Status

Date

Update Summary

Update #39October 12, 2020
  • The Lake County Health Department updated its website on October 9th.
  • According to the update, the LCHD reached out to the U.S. EPA regarding the validity of some samples in Phase III of monitoring.
  • The U.S. EPA provided technical support and after reviewing pressure data, invalidated certain Phase III samples.
  • The full update from LCHD can be found here: https://www.lakecountyil.gov/4158/Ethylene-Oxide-in-Lake-County
  • The updated sample results can be found at: data set
Update #38August 5, 2020
  • Quarter 2 stack monitoring and fugitive emissions results received by IEPA; Vantage within permit
  • Congressman Brad Schneider secures EtO monitoring priorities in Minibus Appropriations
  • Read the full update here.
Update #37June 17, 2020
  • Final set of results from Phase III samples received
  • Results included five days of samples from 12 locations for a total of sixty samples
  • All results are being submitted to the ATSDR
  • Read the full update here.
Update #36May 29, 2020
  • Second set of results from Phase III samples received
  • Results included two days of samples from 10 locations for a total of twenty samples
  • First Quarter cumulative and fugitive emissions results shared by IEPA; Vantage within permit
  • Read the full update here.
Update #35May 22nd, 2020
  • First set of results from Phase III samples received
  • Results included three days of samples from 10 locations for a total of thirty samples
  • Phase III testing completed, awaiting additional sets of results from GHD Services
  • Read the full update here.
Update #34March 30th, 2020
  • IEPA reports that Medline Industries completed compliance testing for Public Act 101-22.
  • Following compliance, IEPA authorized Medline Industries to resume commercial sterilization operations using ethylene oxide.
  • Lake County Health Department, Gurnee and Waukegan to conduct additional sampling.
  • Sampling expected to resume shortly.
  • Read the full update here.

Update #33

March 6th, 2020

 

  • Fifth and final set of results from the 2nd phase of ambient air monitoring received
  • Results included nine days of testing between December 28th – January 22nd.
  • Sampling extended an additional 30 days – start date contingent on Medline Industries complying with Public Act 101-0022.
  • Read the full update here.

Update #32

February 20th, 2020

  • A report from the law firm of Klein, Thorpe and Jenkins Ltd. that evaluates the Village’s authority to regulate and ban the chemical ethylene oxide.
  • The Klein, Thorpe and Jenkins report concludes that the Village does not have the authority under current law to impose additional regulations which would ban the use and/or emissions of ethylene oxide at a facility within its borders.
  • Gurnee approves additional air sampling.
  • Read the full update here.

Update #31

February 12th, 2020

  • IEPA Announces that Medline Industries, Inc. in Waukegan will soon begin emissions control testing as required under P.A. 101-22.
  • Attorney General and IEPA required Medline to cease ethylene oxide operations when they did not meet the December 18th, 2019 deadline as required under the Matt Haller Act.
  • Once testing is completed, the facility must cease the use of ethylene oxide operations until all stack test and modeling reports are prepared. If the facility fails to meet requirements, they must successfully repeat emissions testing prior to resuming operations.
  • Read the full update here

Update #31

January 27th, 2020

  • Phase II of EtO monitoring occurred from October 26 and ended January 22, 2020.
  • Over 350 samples collected from 12 locations on 30 sampling days.
  • 14 of these sampling days occurred during the temporary shutdown of EtO operations at Medline Industries (Waukegan).
  • Third and final planned phase of monitoring will resume to monitor Medline's newly installed emission controls. It is anticipated this may be in February but it is dependent on when emission controls are operational.
  • Read the full update here.

Update #30

January 15th, 2020

  • Fourth set of results from the 2nd phase of ambient air monitoring received
  • Results included eight days of testing between December 4th – December 25th
  • Testing originally through January 2020 and is funded by the IEPA
  • Testing extended an additional 30 days through February 2020.
  • Read the full update here.
Update #29January 8th, 2020
  • Third set of results from the 2nd phase of ambient air monitoring received
  • Results included five days of testing between November 19th – December 2nd
  • Testing continuing through January 2020 and is funding by the IEPA
  • Read the full update here.

Update #28

December 19th, 2019

  • IEPA issues construction permit to Vantage limiting EtO emissions to 110lbs per calendar year: https://bit.ly/36ZdC5J
  • IEPA provides responses to questions asked during construction permit Public Comment period: https://bit.ly/2S6xJuw
  • US EPA has released an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Commercial Sterilization: https://bit.ly/2EuotYP
  • US EPA is proposing amendments to the 2003 Miscellaneous Organic Chemical Manufacturing National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP): https://bit.ly/2r5KnyB
  • Village website updated to include user-friendly, abbreviated EtO updates: www.gurnee.il.us/eto
  • Continuous monitoring equipment on Vantage emissions stack now operational.
  • Read the full update here.

Update #27:

December 12th, 2019
  • November 4 – 17, 2019 monitoring results received.
  • Higher readings were recorded at two locations on November 13/14, 2019, specifically at site V2 (SE corner of Northwestern & Keith) at 8.86 ug/m3 (4.91ppb) and at site V1 (Spaulding School) at 5.29 ug/m3 (2.93ppb).
  • On November 16th/17, the V2 site had a recording of 0.05 ug/m3 (0.0293ppb) and the V1 site was at 0.23 ug/m3 (0.125ppb).
  • On November 16/17, the wind currents were recorded as blowing towards site V5 (36016 N. Delany), which registered a recorded reading at 0.27 ug/m3 (0.150ppb).
  • Meeting set for January 12, 2020 at the Warren Newport Public Library to discuss the UIC School of Public Health blood sampling study results.
  • Construction Updates at Vantage facility:
  • Continuous monitoring equipment on emission stack has been installed and will be operational during the week of December 16th.
  • Work to reduce components that may result in fugitive emissions continues.
  • Read the full update here.

Update #26:

November 26th, 2019
  • The Lake County Health Department has received the first set of results from the second phase of ethylene oxide (EtO) air monitoring. The initial results include samples collected on three separate days from October 26 to November 2, 2019.
  • This phase of the air monitoring is set to continue through January 2020 and is being funded by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Read the full update here.

Update #25: 

November 15th, 2019
  • HB3888 did not make it out of the Senate Executive Committee and therefore did not advance during the Veto Session. Elected officials at the State level have commented they will revisit the issue in the Spring session.
  • Read the full update here.

Status Update

November 14th, 2019
  • On November 14th, 2019, the IEPA held a formal public meeting to accept oral comments on a draft construction permit for Vantage Specialties, Inc. that will place a cap of 110lbs per year on its ethylene oxide emissions, of which no more that 60lbs per year can be fugitive emissions.

Update #24

November 11th, 2019

  • On November 6, 2019, the EPA updated its website containing information on EtO. According to its update, the EPA has worked to understand background levels of EtO. After analyzing results from longstanding monitoring locations across the country, in both rural and urban areas, the EPA confirmed the presence of ethylene oxide, with six-month averages ranging from 0.2 to about 0.4 micrograms per cubic meter.
  • Based on sampling conducted between June 6, 2019 – July 7, 2019 by GHD Services on behalf of the Lake County Health Department and Village of Gurnee, as well as separate sampling conducted by GHD Services for Vantage Specialty Inc. over the same time period, the following averages and medians have been calculated:
  • Average and median if “non-detect” results are assigned a value of .072 micrograms per cubic meter (method detection limit):
  • Average:  0.243 micrograms per cubic meter.
  • Median: 0.17 micrograms per cubic meter.
  • Average and Median if “non-detect” results were removed from calculations:
  • Average: 0.301 micrograms per cubic meter.
  • Median:  0.22 micrograms per cubic meter.
  • Read the full update here.

Update #23

 November 5th, 2019

  • A second round of outdoor air monitoring for ethylene oxide (EtO) began the week of October 21, 2019 near Vantage Specialty Chemicals in Gurnee and Medline Industries in Waukegan. In partnership with the Lake County Health Department and Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), the Village of Gurnee and City of Waukegan have contracted GHD Services, Inc. to conduct an additional 90-day period of air monitoring to determine levels of ethylene oxide in the air. Samples will be collected every third day during the 90-day period, slated to end in January 2020.
  • On October 30, 2019, the IEPA announced that a formal public meeting to accept oral comments on a draft construction permit that will place a cap on ethylene oxide emissions from Vantage Specialties, Inc. will take place at the College of Lake County Auditorium on Thursday, November 14th, 2019 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
  • The Illinois EPA Bureau of Air drafted a permit that would set an annual cap on emissions of ethylene oxide from the plant of 110 pounds per year of which no more than 60 pounds may be fugitive emissions from components.
  • Two bills related to ethylene oxide were recently introduced in the House during the Veto Session.
  • Read the full update here 

Update #22

October 23rd, 2019
  • On October 2, 2019 the Mayor and entire Board of Trustees attended the informational town hall session on ethylene oxide hosted by Senator Melinda Bush. A recording of the session has been posted on the Village’s YouTube channel.
  • Two bills related to ethylene oxide were recently introduced in the House and could be discussed during the upcoming Veto Session.
  • Read the full update here.

Status Update

October 21st, 2019
  • Village of Gurnee Board approves an Intergovernmental Agreement with the State of Illinois to provide funding for additional air monitoring. 

Update #21

October 7th, 2019
  • Senator Melinda Bush hosted a Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday, October 2nd at the College of Lake County. Members of the public, as well as representatives from numerous public bodies, including the Mayor and entire Gurnee Village Board, were in attendance to hear from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).
  • Read the full update here.

Update #20

October 2nd, 2019
  • The multi-agency informational town hall session on ethylene oxide was held on Wednesday, October 2nd, from 6:30pm to 8:00pm.
  • The session was held at the College of Lake County Auditorium A011.
  • The event was an opportunity for those in attendance to hear from the agencies responsible for regulating air quality.
  • Mayor Kovarik and the entire Village of Gurnee Board were in attendance at the meeting.
  • Read the full update here.

Update #19

September 20th, 2019
  • Senator Melinda Bush, in conjunction with Lake County, Lake County Health Department, City of Waukegan and Village of Gurnee, announced a multi-agency informational town hall session on ethylene oxide would be held on Wednesday, October 2nd, from 6:30pm to 8:00pm.
  • Senator Bush also announced additional State funding to support additional ambient air monitoring around the Medline and Vantage sites. This is in addition to 30-days of monitoring sponsored by the Lake County Health Department, City of Waukegan and Village of Gurnee, as well as separate monitoring funded by the facilities themselves.
  • Vantage Specialty, Inc. has reported that pursuant to Public Act 101-0023 the company is in the process of providing the IEPA a plan for continuously collecting emissions information, as well as dispersion modeling. This information is due at the end of the year.
  • Two new bills related to ethylene oxide have recently been introduced in the House.
  • Read the full update here

Update #18

August 14th, 2019
  • The Lake County Health Department, Village of Gurnee, and City of Waukegan have received the final results from their joint outdoor air monitoring for ethylene oxide (EtO) near Vantage Specialty Chemicals in Gurnee and Medline Industries in Waukegan. The results have been sent to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a health risk assessment, and to the Illinois EPA (IEPA) which has regulatory authority over ethylene oxide emissions.
  • The Illinois Department of Public Health will also conduct a cancer incidence study.
  • Read the full update here.

Update #17

August 7th, 2019
  • Vantage Specialty provided the Lake County Health Department with a series of 60 air samples that were recorded from June 9th to July 7th, 2019.
  • Read the full update here

Update #16

July 23rd, 2019
  • The Lake County Health Department, Village of Gurnee, and City of Waukegan received the third set of results from their joint outdoor air monitoring for ethylene oxide (EtO) near Vantage Specialty Chemicals in Gurnee and Medline Industries in Waukegan.
  • Read the full update here.

Update #15

June 21st, 2019
  • The Lake County Health Department, Village of Gurnee, and City of Waukegan received the first set of results from their joint outdoor air monitoring for ethylene oxide (EtO) near Vantage Specialty Chemicals in Gurnee and Medline Industries in Waukegan.
  • The preliminary results indicate the presence of EtO at elevated levels at one location in Waukegan, and at varying and lower levels at all other sites.
  • The results showed that the highest levels were detected at the sampling location nearest the Medline facility, with the highest reading being 10 ug/m3 collected on June 7-8, 2019.
  • Read the full update here

Update #14

June 19th, 2019
  • Emissions testing on the stack to determine the increase in efficiency with the additional scrubbers on-line was performed on May 21st under IEPA supervision. This testing was for a continuous 24-hour period with results forthcoming.
  • Read the full update here.

Status Update

June 17th, 2019
  • On June 17th, 2019, the Gurnee Village Board approved an Intergovernmental Agreement with the IEPA. Pursuant to the agreement, the IEPA will provide $62,500 in funding to be used to conduct additional ambient air sampling following the permitting and installation of additional controls and instrumentation at Vantage Specialty, Inc

Update #13

June 3rd, 2019
  • Outdoor air monitoring began this week near Vantage Specialty Chemicals in Gurnee and Medline Industries in Waukegan. In partnership with the Lake County Health Department, the Village of Gurnee and City of Waukegan have hired GHD Services, Inc. to conduct the air monitoring to help officials better understand the levels of ethylene oxide (EtO) in the air.
  • Read the full update here.

Status Update

May 20th, 2019
  • On May 20th, over thirty stakeholders came together to receive a report from U.S. EPA Region 5 and IEPA related to EtO in Lake County.
  • On May 20th, the governing boards of both the Village of Gurnee and City of Waukegan approved an Intergovernmental Agreement with the Lake County Health Department related to ambient air monitoring. The communities also approved an agreement with GHD Services, Inc. to conduct ethylene oxide ambient air sampling.

Update #12

May 8th, 2019
  • On April 10, 2019, the Lake County Health Department received confirmation that the National Center for Environmental Health/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) will perform a health risk assessment on the impact of ethylene oxide emissions from Vantage Specialty, Inc. in Gurnee and Medline Industries, Inc. in Waukegan.
  • The installation of two dry scrubbers to further reduce stack emissions has been completed and both units are operational. These additional dry scrubbers will work in conjunction with existing wet scrubbers. Vantage is currently working with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) to develop a testing plan for stack emissions now that the additional scrubbers are online. This testing is planned for May 2019.
  • Read the full update here.

Update #11

April 8th, 2019
  • On March 26, 2019, LCHD Executive Director Mark Pfister formally petitioned the National Center for Environmental Health/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) to perform a health risk assessment based on ambient EtO air quality sampling results expected to be collected in June of 2019.
  • The Village of Gurnee met with the Lake County Health Department and the City of Waukegan on April 3rd to discuss a preliminary testing plan for both Lake County sites.
  • Installation of a second (dry) scrubber to further reduce stack emissions is nearing completion.  The second scrubber will be activated the week of April 15, 2019. Follow-up emissions testing on the stack is planned for May 2019.
  • Read the full update here.

Update #10

March 11th, 2019
  • Mayor Kristina Kovarik submitted Witness Slips in support of three bills introduced by State Senator John Curran related to ethylene oxide, as well as a Senate Joint Resolution related to the issue.
  • Residents were invited to fill out a Witness Slip prior to 11:00 a.m. on March 14th, 2019.
  • Read the full update here.

Update #9

March 1st, 2019
  • On February 28, 2019, Health Department Executive Director Mark Pfister met with Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) Director John Kim, Illinois Senator Melinda Bush, Gurnee Mayor Kristina Kovarik, and Waukegan Mayor Sam Cunningham to discuss options for ambient air monitoring in Lake County. 
  • Read the full update here.

Update #8

February 21st, 2019
  • The U.S. EPA updated their Lake County webpage with additional information and frequently asked questions.
  • Read the full update here.

Update #7

February 20th, 2019
  • The January 28, 2019 Gurnee Village Board meeting included a presentation on ethylene oxide from multiple presenters including State Senator Melinda Bush. At this meeting the Senator stated that she expected legislation to address ethylene oxide concerns to be introduced in the coming weeks.
  • On February 15, 2019, State Senator John Curran introduced three new bills in the 101st General Assembly related to ethylene oxide.
  • The IEPA confirmed the testing protocols proposed by Vantage are “independent” and will provide comprehensive information to assess health risks associated with the facility. The IEPA confirmed that ambient air testing is predominately conducted by third-party firms hired by the company being tested.
  • In coordination with the U.S. EPA, Vantage submitted revised historical emission estimates from 2010-2016.  For those years, Vantage had used conservative EPA estimation methods. Vantage’s revised emission reports for 2010-2016 
  • draw upon actual emissions testing data and is substantially lower than previously reported figures.
  • Read the full update here.

Update #6

January 28th, 2019 
  • The January 28, 2019 Gurnee Village Board meeting included a presentation on ethylene oxide from multiple presenters including Lake County Health Department Deputy Director Larry Mackey, Village Attorney Bryan Winter, Fire Chief John Kavanagh and State Senator Melinda Bush. At this meeting the Senator stated that she expected legislation to address ethylene oxide concerns to be introduced in the coming weeks.
  • Read the full update here.

Update #5

January 18th, 2019
  • Village staff met with representatives from Vantage Specialty, Inc. on January 14, 2019 and received an update on efforts to reduce ethylene oxide emissions. Vantage reported that plans to install a second (dry) scrubber to further reduce stack emissions remains on schedule for implementation in the first quarter of 2019.
  • On January 6, 2019, the Lake County Health Department provided additional information concerning its efforts to date related to the use of the chemical ethylene oxide. The County released information obtained from the IEPA that the Vantage facility received a violation notice in 2015 and 2016.
  • On January 17, 2019, the Village participated in a conference call with the IEPA to receive an update concerning the Agency’s review of the Vantage facility located in Gurnee and Medline facility located in Waukegan.
  • Read the full update here.

Update #4

December 14th, 2018
  • On Monday, December 3rd, Mayor Kovarik, Congressman Brad Schneider, representatives from Senator Tammy Duckworth and Senator Dick Durbin’s offices, State Senator Melinda Bush, Lake County Chairwoman Sandy Hart, Lake County Board Members Steve Carlson Paul Frank and Village Administrator Pat Muetz met with Vantage Specialty Chemical’s senior management and participated in a plant tour.
  • Read the full update here.

Status Update

November 28th, 2018
  • On Wednesday, November 28th, the Village was invited to participate in a conversation with the U.S. EPA Region 5 and U.S. EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation Bill Wehrum. The meeting was primarily an opportunity for the U.S. EPA to provide background information on the process for modeling toxic emissions used for the National Air Toxics Assessment maps and the data gathered for the Toxic Release Inventory Reports.
  • The EPA explained the reason for increased scrutiny and the next steps going forward.
  • As it relates to Vantage Specialty Chemicals, the U.S. EPA reaffirmed Vantage will be voluntarily installing a secondary scrubber on its emissions stack with the construction expected to take place in the first quarter of 2019. It also stated that voluntary fence line testing at Vantage will be conducted under EPA guidelines, including the EPA reviewing the test plans and providing input on any improvements to the plan it deems necessary. This testing was conducted over a 30 day period, 24 hours a day.
  • At its meeting with the U.S. EPA on November 28th, the U.S. EPA indicated that it would not be conducting ambient air testing related to the Vantage facility located in Gurnee.  The U.S. EPA confirmed Vantage had advised that it would conduct voluntary perimeter testing at the Gurnee site.

Update #3

November 21st, 2018
  • The U.S. EPA has put together a website for Lake County ethylene oxide sites with information on both facilities.
  • Read the full update here.

Update #2

November 16th, 2018
  • The U.S. EPA advised the County of Lake and the Village of Gurnee that the Agency will launch a Lake County section on its website to communicate the most current information available on the situation.
  • The U.S. EPA has created an email address that can be used to ask questions and express concerns at eto@epa.gov.
  • The U.S. EPA has further advised the Village that Vantage Specialty Chemicals, Inc., located in Gurnee, has provided equipment monitoring results to the Agency.
  • Vantage has voluntarily committed to implementing an air monitoring program at the perimeter of its property utilizing guidance provided by the IEPA.
  • Read the full update here.

Update #1

November 2nd, 2018
  • The Village of Gurnee has been in contact with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concerning air quality regulations as it relates to the use of the chemical ethylene oxide by Vantage Specialty Chemical (3938 Porett Drive).
  • The EPA updated its risk value for ethylene oxide and is working with industry and state air agencies to further evaluate the use of this chemical.
  • The Village has been advised that Vantage Specialty Chemicals Inc. is cooperating with the EPA to provide additional information about its current emissions control equipment and perimeter testing to be conducted at the facility, the results of which will be provided to the EPA.
  • Read the full update here.

Status Update

October 22, 2018
  • On October 22nd, 2018 the US EPA reached out to the Village of Gurnee notifying the Village of the use ethylene oxide by Vantage Specialty Chemical (3938 Porett Drive). This was the first notification the Village received regarding ethylene oxide emissions in Gurnee. 
  • The US EPA stated that an upcoming article in the Chicago Tribune was expected, and contact from the US EPA was to provide the Village with background information on the 2014 National Air Toxics Assessment and the 2016 EPA Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) that redefined the risk modeling for non-occupational exposure to ethylene oxide
  • The Village began fact-finding and researching ethylene oxide to provide information to residents and the community regarding the use of the chemical.

Ethylene Oxide FAQ

Mar 4, 2019, 11:43 AM