Sterigenics Suspends Operations To Install Air Scrubbers

Sep 6, 2019

On Friday, Sterigenics medical facility in Cobb County said it will suspend operations while updates to reduce emissions of the toxic gas ethylene oxide are being installed. 

“At the request of Governor Kemp and the EPD, Sterigenics has been working to expedite the installation of technology enhancements to our Atlanta facility and, as previously announced, has been operating under a reduced production schedule," the company said in a statement. 

Georgia Sen. Jen Jordan also announced Friday that she filed a lawsuit against the state's Environmental Protection Division, seeking to overturn a consent order between the EPD and Sterigenics.

The agreement, dated Aug. 7, gave the company six months to reduce emissions of the toxic gas ethylene oxide. The company uses the gas to sterilize medical equipment. Sterigenics President Phil MacNabb said the company's emissions are under legal limits, but that was based on self-reported numbers. 

Now, third-party air testing around the Sterigenics is underway. County officials announced Thursday that GHD Services, the company hired to do the third-party air testing, started installing air filters at some 30 locations around the facility near Smyrna.

Ethylene oxide was recently classified as a carcinogenic by the Environmental Protection Agency and linked to higher rates of cancer.

READ: Georgia Environmenal Officials Address Concerns About Cobb Sterigenics Plant

Following a tense meeting with the company, Cobb allocated about $40,000 to pay for third-party testing. An intergovernmental agreement with Atlanta and Smyrna was also reached regarding funding for the tests.

Georgia’s EPD has also announced it too will conduct air testing around the facility. Sterigenics said it will put in air scrubbers in their building to help do so.