August 28, 2018

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Illinois, Latest News

ICYMI: Rauner’s Old Investment Firm Co-Owns Company Linked to Cancer Risk for DuPage County Residents

In case you missed it, the Chicago Tribune reported last night that a company co-owned by GTCR, Governor Bruce Rauner’s former investment firm, could be putting DuPage County residents at an elevated level of cancer risk. The EPA found that a gas used by the company Sterigenics was “far more dangerous than previously thought” and nearby residents faced a cancer risk “more than nine times the national average.” While the new report has local officials “reeling,” the gas “has been on the federal list of carcinogens since 1985” and a 2016 EPA report linked “it more conclusively to breast and blood cancer.”

Rauner’s official office and campaign declined to answer “detailed questions.”

Read excerpts below or the full article here:

High cancer risk in southeast DuPage County linked to company co-owned by Rauner’s former firm

“But a new federal study is putting a bright spotlight on the company, finding that people living nearby face some the nation’s highest cancer risks from toxic air pollution.

A gas used by the company, ethylene oxide, is far more dangerous than previously thought, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In one census tract near the plant, the EPA estimates the risk of cancer is more than nine times the national average. 

Another federal agency concluded the cancer risks could be significantly higher. 

[…]

The company also stands out because since 2011 it has been owned by a private equity firm co-founded by Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, who left the firm a year later to begin campaigning for public office.

About 19,000 people in southeast DuPage County live within a mile of the Willowbrook facility. Four schools and a day care center also are close by, including Hinsdale South High School in Darien and Gower Middle School in Burr Ridge.

Local officials have been reeling since the EPA privately shared the Sterigenics study with them last week. The agency posted it online without notice late Friday.

[…]

The Willowbrook facility is one of nine ethylene oxide sterilizers operated nationally by Sterigenics, which has grown rapidly since it was bought out in 2011 by GTCR, the private equity firm formed by Rauner and a colleague during the late 1990s after dissolving another firm with the same name.

[…]

Neither the Rauner campaign nor the governor’s office answered detailed questions from the Tribune.”