7 Cancers Caused by Ethylene Oxide Exposure

7 Cancers Caused by Ethylene Oxide Exposure | Pintas & Mullins Law Firm

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) keeps an electronic database that lists the cancer-causing potential of different substances. The EPA first classified ethylene oxide (EtO) as a possible human carcinogen in 1985. Fifteen years later, the EPA changed EtO’s status to a known human carcinogen.

What is a Carcinogen?

Carcinogens are substances that cause cancer by changing the structure of DNA.

Humans are exposed to many substances at any given time, so it’s very difficult for scientists to determine whether their exposure to a certain substance is linked to cancer. Researchers often base their opinions about human risk on results from experiments on animals.

Not all humans who come into contact with carcinogens will develop cancer. It all depends on the length and intensity of their exposure, their genetic makeup, and the way in which they were exposed. 

For example, asbestos is a known human carcinogen. It has been proved to cause lung cancer, mesothelioma, and many other cancers. Ethylene oxide is considered in the same category as asbestos.

What Happens When You’re Exposed to Ethylene Oxide

Humans are most likely to inhale or ingest EtO on the job. Companies that use EtO should, in theory, take precautions to control their EtO emissions, but in some cases, they don’t. Sterigenics International in Willowbrook, Illinois is one company that has been using EtO as a sterilizing agent for medical equipment for over 30 years, and hasn’t always taken a strict-enough approach to controlling release of the gas into the environment.

Sterigenics representatives claim that the gas dissolves into the environment quickly, and therefore poses little threat to the community. A recent study conducted by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ASDTR) contradicts that statement. The study concludes that the cancer risk around Sterigenics is 64 times the acceptable limit, solely because of Sterigenics’ negligent emissions.

People living and working within approximately two miles of this facility may have been exposed to EtO for the past three decades. Many have reported being diagnosed with one of the below cancers.

  • Lymphoma
  • Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
  • Leukemia
  • Breast Cancer
  • Lung Cancer
  • Brain Cancer
  • Uterine Cancer

Contact a Sterigenics Claims Lawyer Today

Due to the risk of developing known side effects in the future, we believe that everyone living or working within two miles of Sterigenics (7775 South Quincy Street, Willowbrook, IL 60527) may have a claim.

If you’ve lived or work within two miles of Sterigenics at any point in that time period, contact us today. All conversations are confidential, and filing a claim is free.