Initial Ethylene Oxide Air Monitoring Results Received

View as a webpage | Translate

LCHD 2017




For Immediate Release
Date: June 21, 2019
Contact: Hannah Goering
(847) 377-8099


 Initial Ethylene Oxide Air Monitoring Results Received

Lake County, Ill. — The Lake County Health Department, Village of Gurnee, and City of Waukegan have 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. These 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. 

These results represent only three days of sampling, and monitoring is continuing. However, the results show 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.

“While these results represent only a small portion of the samples to be collected and will be part of a future health risk assessment, we are concerned about the preliminary reports of EtO levels measured nearest Medline,” said Mayor Sam Cunningham of the City of Waukegan. “We have provided these results to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) as they are the regulatory authority.” 

The results have been made available to the public via the Health Department’s website, As additional results come in, they will be handled in the same manner.

The IEPA recently issued a construction permit to Medline Industries in Waukegan that requires a number of additional controls and requirements, which combined will be the most stringent in the nation. These measures are designed to significantly reduce emissions from the facility. Further, recently passed, and soon to be signed legislation places very strict requirements on Vantage Specialty Chemicals and Medline Industries including greater monitoring and emissions controls.

Air monitoring for EtO began the week of June 3, 2019 at ten sites in Lake County. Samples are being collected every third day until the first week of July, with additional samples collected on random dates.

Based on recommendations of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), ten air monitors were placed at four sites near Medline, four sites near Vantage, and at two remote locations which will provide background levels of EtO. Monitoring locations were chosen based on U.S. EPA air monitoring siting criteria and factors such as meteorological data, facility emissions and dispersion modeling, topography, and property accessibility.

Upon the completion of the 30-day air monitoring program, results will be provided to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry for health risk analysis and the Illinois Department of Public Health for a cancer incidence study.

On June 17, 2019 the Village of Gurnee and City of Waukegan approved Intergovernmental Agreements with the IEPA. The IEPA has agreed to fund additional air monitoring after facility upgrades to reduce EtO emissions at Medline and Vantage are completed.

Anyone with questions about the EtO air monitoring should visit the Health Department’s website for more information,, or call (847) 377-8020.


# # #

LCHD logo 2017

Lake County Health Department
3010 Grand Avenue
Waukegan, Illinois 60085
(847) 377-8000