Representative Lauren Underwood

Representing the 14th District of Illinois

Underwood Helps Secure Funding for Ethylene Oxide Monitoring in Lake County

May 31, 2019
Press Release
Bill increases EPA compliance funding used for ambient air monitoring of ethylene oxide

WASHINGTON— Today, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14) announced the House Appropriations Committee included funding for ambient air monitoring of Ethylene Oxide (EtO) during its mark-up of the appropriations bill for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The $5.6 million increase for EPA’s compliance monitoring program would support EPA air monitoring for communities identified by the National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA) as facing high levels of EtO emissions, including those in Lake County.

In addition to the increased funding for the compliance monitoring account at EPA, the legislation includes language urging EPA to conduct ambient air monitoring in communities like Lake County that the NATA identified as facing high EtO levels, in coordination with state and local public health departments and other federal agencies.

“This investment is essential to getting much-needed answers for our community in Lake County on the potential health hazards of ethylene oxide. I'm pleased to see the House Appropriations Committee has accepted our request to provide the EPA with additional funding to conduct ambient air monitoring and will continue to fight to bring federal resources to the 14th District,” said Underwood.

In April, Underwood joined fellow members of the Illinois Congressional delegation requesting the funding for ambient air monitoring in a letter to House appropriators.

Since reporting Lake County communities face high EtO emissions, the EPA has refused to conduct ambient air monitoring that would provide the community with critical public health information about the air they breathe. EPA’s ambient air monitoring in Willowbrook, IL played a central role in the Illinois state government’s decision to shutter the Sterigenics facility that used EtO. In the absence of EPA leadership, communities in Lake County have begun coordinating requests for proposals to conduct their own EtO air monitoring.