Durbin, Duckworth, Talks Legionnaires' At Illinois Veterans' Homes & Ethylene Oxide Emissions With New Illinois Directors Of Veterans' Affairs & Public Health

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today discussed both Legionnaires’ disease at Illinois Veterans’ Homes (IVH) and ethylene oxide emissions from medical device sterilization facilities in Illinois with Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) Director Linda Chapa LaVia and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. This was the Senators’ first call with the newly appointed directors under Governor J.B. Pritzker’s Administration.

“As parents ourselves, we don’t take threats to the public health of Illinoisans lightly. We will continue to support federal assistance that helps keep Illinoisans safe in their homes, schools, communities, and neighborhoods,” Durbin and Duckworth said.  “We are thankful to the directors for taking the time to speak with us today and for their dedication to the safety of Illinoisans.”

Durbin and Duckworth received an update on IVH Manteno, where a veteran contracted Legionnaires’ disease, and IVH Quincy, which faced a number of Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks that killed 14 and sickened more than 60 under the previous Governor. Durbin and Duckworth offered federal support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to help protect the veterans, residents, and staff at State Veterans’ Homes across Illinois.

Durbin and Duckworth also received an update on the IDPH efforts on the situation at Sterigenics in Willowbrook, Illinois. Last month, Governor Pritzker’s administration successfully issued a seal order on ethylene oxide (EtO) storage vessels, shuttering the Sterigenics medical device sterilization facility. Durbin and Duckworth have urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to step up its oversight of the facility, and have asked the agency repeatedly to assess other EtO sterilization facilities in Illinois such as Medline, Inc. and Vantage Specialty Chemicals in Lake County.