Sterigenics plant under discussion in Springfield

Jeanne Hochhalter of Naperville, formerly of Burr Ridge, is a cancer survivor who told her story to a Senate panel Wednesday morning. (Dave Dahl)


By Dave Dahl

SPRINGFIELD – A sterilization plant in DuPage County is tied to cancer in many of its neighbors. A panel of senators Wednesday morning tried to get to the bottom of it.

Jeanne Hochhalter of Naperville lived in Burr Ridge for years, and not healthily.

“I have no family history of cancer,” she said. “There was no reason for me to have breath cancer. I did, however, breathe in the toxic emissions of ethylene oxide, which Sterigenics had willfully and is still spewing out into the community.

A bill sponsored by State Sen. John Curran (R-Downers Grove) would reopen Sterigenics’ air permit for more public comment.

Opponents, including a California scientist hired as an expert witness, say studies tying the chemical to cancer are flawed.

Dave Dahl can be reached at


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