Ethylene Oxide Air Monitoring Resumes in Lake County

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LCHD 2017




For Immediate Release
Date: October 28, 2019
Contact: Hannah Goering
(847) 377-8099


 Ethylene Oxide Air Monitoring Resumes in Lake County

Lake County, Ill. — 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 (EtO) in the air.

“Our first 30-day period of outdoor air monitoring confirmed the presence of EtO in our air, with the highest levels found at the sampling sites closest to the Medline and Vantage facilities,” said Mark Pfister, Health Department Executive Director. “The second round of air monitoring, funded by the IEPA, will provide additional data on the levels of EtO before, during, and after new controls are installed at Medline as required to meet their permit from IEPA.”

Samples will be collected every third day during the 90-day period, slated to end in January 2020. The monitoring canisters pose no health risks to residents and should not be damaged, moved, or interfered with. The canisters will be sent to a laboratory for analysis, and results will be posted publicly to the Health Department’s website,, as they are received.

Results will also be forwarded to the Village of Gurnee and City of Waukegan, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and IEPA which has regulatory authority over EtO emissions permitting in Illinois.

The ATSDR has agreed to conduct a health risk assessment for Lake County based on the results, and IDPH has agreed to complete a cancer incidence study that includes Lake County.

During the first round of monitoring in June-July 2019, samples were collected from 10 monitoring sitesfour sites near Medline, four sites near Vantage, and two remote locations to provide background levels of EtO. The original 10 sites were chosen based on U.S. EPA recommendations. At the request of the community, the second round of monitoring features two additional monitoring sites located to the northwest of each emitting facility.

“Since the beginning of our partnership with Gurnee and Waukegan, our goal has been to secure extended air monitoring for Lake County,” said Larry Mackey, Director of Environmental Health at the Health Department. “During this 90-day period of monitoring, 360 new samples will be collected to add to the 124 collected in the summer. Using this data, ATSDR will conduct a health risk assessment, which is vital to helping our residents understand the health risks associated with EtO emissions in our county.”

On October 21, 2019, the Village of Gurnee and City of Waukegan approved intergovernmental agreements (IGAs) on October 21, 2019 with the IEPA, which is funding the extended monitoring program.

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


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