Durbin Discusses Availability of Protective Masks With EPA Region 5 Administrator

SPRINGFIELD – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), on a call with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5 Administrator Kurt Thiede, asked about the agency’s supply of N-95 masks and whether they could be given to hospitals and health care workers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic in Illinois. Durbin pushed Administrator Thiede about whether EPA’s warehouse in suburban Chicago had an available supply of N-95 masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE).  The EPA indicated that the agency is evaluating supplies of N-95 masks to perform essential functions under its core mission and examining how EPA may be able to provide any extra PPE to those in need. 

“Illinois is in short supply of vital medical PPE, including protective masks. If EPA has the ability to donate unused masks currently in storage to our hospitals and health care workers, they should do so without delay.  This pandemic requires a whole-of-government approach to save lives and protect those working on the front lines,” Durbin said.

Durbin and U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-09), who has also engaged EPA on PPE availability, will continue to press for supplies to be made available for Illinois health care workers.