CHICAGO (CBS) – The jury in the case against Sterigenics and its role in Willowbrook Women’s Cancer found the company responsible and awarded it $ 363 million.
Sue Kamuda has sued the medical device sterilization company, claiming the emissions from a facility near her home caused the c*ncer.
The company used a carcinogen, ethylene oxide, or EO to sterilize medical equipment, but said it wasn’t guilty of Kamuda’s breast c*ncer.
have tracked and disclosed claims against Sterigenics for years.
The company used carcinogenic ethylene oxide – or EO – to sterilize medical equipment, but Sterigenics says it is not to blame for Kamuda’s breast c*ncer.
Kamuda is the first of over 700 plaintiffs to blame Sterigenics for causing their disease by emitting a c*ncer-causing toxin to the surrounding community for decades.
Kamuda testified under oath last week that she would have moved out of Willowbrook had she known about the dangerous ethylene oxide being released by the Sterigenics factory. She fought tears at the booth, speaking of having been diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast c*ncer more than two decades after moving to her home in Willowbrook.
She also described her shock after being told that a plant near her home was emitting a known toxin all the time. Kamuda told the Daley Center jury that moving to her dream home with her husband and three children in Willowbrook in 1985 was “possibly the happiest day” of her life.
But what she didn’t know was that that same year, Sterigenics had moved in as well, just a third of a mile from her home.
The Willowbrook facility used EO from 1985 until it was closed by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency in 2019.
Kamuda was diagnosed with breast c*ncer in 2007. She said it was a shock to her as she had no family history of breast c*ncer and a DNA test showed she didn’t have the gene that causes breast c*ncer.
She underwent lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation therapy; and it wasn’t until 2018 that an EPA study found that people living near the Willowbrook factory faced the highest risk of developing c*ncer in the country.
Kamuda said it was a neighbor who notified her of the discoveries and invited her to a community meeting. She said she had no idea the Sterigenics were emitting toxic gas all these years and if she knew she would have moved her family.
On the defense side, there are three corporate defendants – Griffith Laboratories, the original parent company; Steroids; and Sotera Health, which acquired Sterigenics in 2004.
The defense said EO was not to blame for Kamuda’s breast c*ncer, and experts and studies show that she was not exposed to enough toxic gas to make her sick.
CBS 2 investigators have been exposing Willowbrook residents’ allegations against the plant for years.
CBS 2 has crews in court and will present you with the verdict on CBS2.com as soon as that happens.
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