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Statement from Attorney Antonio M. Romanucci on a new report from the USEPA’S Office of the Inspector General regarding how officials delayed the public release of information about the risks of ethylene oxide in Willowbrook, Illinois

April 18, 2021

Communities like Willowbrook, Illinois rely on the companies that operate nearby to do so safely and without ever unnecessarily risking the health and lives of the community. When those companies utterly fail in this responsibility by emitting a known carcinogen into the air around homes, schools, daycares, and parks, the government’s role is to police the companies and further protect the people and, at a minimum, enforce its own regulations against these unscrupulous companies. This new report from the USEPA’S Office of the Inspector General shows what happens when those companies and their hired lobbyists and insiders interfere, putting their thumb on the scale in their favor and capturing the regulatory agencies meant to monitor them. Ultimately, it is the neighbors in the community that pay the price as the Report makes clear: “The instructions from OAR ultimately hindered Region 5’s ability to protect human health from ethylene oxide emissions in a timely manner.”

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