Thirty-two cancer patients sued Sterigenics in Cook County, Illinois for damages related to ethylene oxide emissions from their Illinois factories.
The lawsuits, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, allege that the medical device sterilization company failed to monitor how much ethylene oxide was being emitted from their plants.
The chemical is commonly used for sterilizing medical and pharmaceutical products that cannot support conventional sterilization with high-temperature steam. Federal and international agencies identify the chemical as carcinogenic in humans.
The individuals, who live in areas surrounding the plants, allege that they developed cancer from being exposed to the chemical for years.