Atlanta’s medical sterilization center is closing down its operations until next month as it has to upgrade its facilities to cut down on emission of toxic ethylene oxide gas. Sterigenics, the medical sterilization company had recently come under fire by Atlanta government and county authorities of Cobb and Smyrna for release of ethylene oxide that is a byproduct of sterilization process and has potential of causing cancer. In view of these complaints Sterigenics stated that it will close down during early September and speed up the improvements to its facility.
Atlanta government has already installed air test monitors around the factory to test levels of ethylene oxide and even the Georgia Environmental Protection Division has plans to begin testing air for presence of ethylene oxide in October. Residents worry that if tests are done now it will not reveal actual amount of gas released when operations are in full swing. State rep Erick Allen representing Smyrna area stated that the sudden announcement of closure for repairs is suspicious as the firm had told them earlier that they couldn’t do it.
During meetings the president of Sterigenics had told residents that they would not be able to shut down the premises completely during innovation as it would disrupt supply medical devices supply chain in the country. In another case related to Sterigenics, state senator Jen Jordan and a couple of residents filed a lawsuit asking a lawsuit to cancel a consent order given to the firm by state officials in August. Sen. Jordan stated that the consent order was negotiated between EPD and the firm without informing elected officials and local residents about its details. Residents of Smyrna have been worried about emissions levels of ethylene oxide from the plant and an unreported leak during July. They became aware about the toxic air only after a report was released by US Environmental Protection Agency last year identifying Smyrna as one among 109 locations in the country with high risk of cancer.