Fighting for Clean Air as a Lawyer, a Citizen, a Husband, and a Father

By August 5, 2019Community

I am a trial lawyer. Worst-case scenarios are my day-to-day.  All of my clients have experienced injuries or lost loved ones due to someone else’s mistake or bad behavior. As you can imagine, all these cases often hit close to home.

But nothing has ever come close to the sinking feeling in my gut when I heard the announcement. Deadly ETHYLENE OXIDE (EtO) emissions at the BD Bard plant and the evidence of a cancer cluster all in our little town of Covington, Georgia.

I, along with my wife and three children, live within a mile and a half of the plant in question. My parents live within 2 miles; my in-laws live within 15 miles. My wife and sisters-in-law were raised here.  My Covington office is about 2 miles away; my wife works within 2 miles as well. My children spend most hours a day breathing air from the Bard plant, and have done so every day of their life since birth.

My wife was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease in 1997. It was a painful time in our lives when we cried a lot and we prayed a lot.  After almost two years of chemotherapy and radiation, hers was found to be in remission. It made us who we are today. Aside from the regular cancer checkups, she began mammograms earlier than most women (she’s actually late for hers right now, and I fussed at her about it last night).

I have friends and family members that work at Bard. I have friends that work or live near the plant. I have friends in Covington that are sick; many of them not of the age or condition you typically associate with the sickness afflicting them. Old-timers have said there was something in the air or the water in Covington for years.

The announcement last week concerned me. Researching EtO emissions scares me – regardless of how you look at it, EtO is bad, cancer-causing stuff. I’m trying to educate the community and myself so we can figure out if our concerns are valid, which means, if we should be angry…and if so, where we should direct this anger.

It’s my hope that decision makers will step up, assist with this process and be proactive. Independent testing seems like the obvious path to better understand what is happening in Covington. Either way, I will continue to push for answers. I won’t be silent or patient when faced with news that known cancer-causing poisons are being released in the air of any town, much less MY TOWN. It’s going to be a long road and answers might be hard to get, but there is something else about folks like me from Covington, we don’t back down from a fight.

I am a lawyer, but I am a father first. I will fight to have the air clean for children and my clients and I won’t give up on either. If you have any information you can share or if you or a loved one have experienced sickness that you feel could be due to the EtO emissions at the Bard plant, please contact me at 770.988.5252 or Michael@mg4law.com.

-Michael Geoffroy

MG Law

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