What Is The History Of Ethylene Oxide Exposure In Georgia?
Unfortunately, ethylene oxide exposure is a serious public safety problem in our region. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) highlights two plants in Northern Georgia that may have caused harm to members of the public by emitting ethylene oxide and other types of chemicals into the environment, including into the air and groundwater supply. Specifically, the two plants are:
- A Sterigenics facility located in Smyrna; and
- A BD Bard (Becton Dickenson) facility located in Covington.
Ethylene Oxide Exposure at the Sterigenics Facility (Smyrna, Georgia)
Located off of Atlanta Road and right next to the Chattahoochee River, the Sterigenics plant manufactures and supplies a wide variety of different types of medical equipment. Alarmingly, strong evidence has been presented that the cancer-causing gas ethylene oxide has been emitted at the site. Local government officers, officials from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, and federal regulators are actively reviewing the matter.
To be clear, this is still an ongoing situation. While the plant was closed indefinitely earlier this fall, it operated at this site in Smyrna for decades. Researchers are still gathering information on the public health effects caused by chemical exposure at the plant. To get the latest public health information related to the Sterigenics facility in Smyrna, you can refer to an updated press release guide that has been compiled by Cobb County. Alternatively, if you have any specific questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call our Smyrna, GA toxic tort lawyers for immediate assistance.
Ethylene Oxide Exposure at the BD Bard Facility (Covington, Georgia)
Becton Dickenson is a major medical device manufacturer and supplier. In 2017, the company made a billion dollar acquisition of the firm C. R. Bard—as a result, you will often hear the business referred to simply as ‘BD Bard’. The company operates a plant at 8195 Industrial Boulevard in Covington, Georgia. Unfortunately, this plant has been linked to the cancer-causing gas ethylene oxide. Allegations have been raised that BD Bard emitted a dangerous amount of ethylene oxide at the Covington site.
BD Bard is still actively operating at its facility in Covington. Over the last several months, state and local officials have discussed shutting down the plant altogether. On October 28th, 2019, BD Bard reached an agreement with the state of Georgia, halting operations for one week as a result of gas leak protocols and air/water quality concerns. BD Bard has also agreed to reduce emissions when it reopens. That being said, the plant has been operating for many years. If you have any questions about the BD Bard and chemical exposure, contact our Covington, GA toxic tort lawyers for immediate assistance.
Connection Between Ethylene Oxide, Cancer, & Other Adverse Health Events
As stated above, exposure to ethylene oxide can be extremely dangerous. It is associated with numerous serious illnesses, including cancer. The same OSHA publication that is cited above states that potential adverse health events of ethylene oxide exposure include:
- Eye pain;
- Sore throat;
- Difficult breathing;
- Blurred vision;
- Leukemia and other cancers;
- Spontaneous abortion;
- Genetic damage;
- Nerve damage;
- Peripheral paralysis;
- Muscle weakness;
- Impaired thinking; and
- Impaired memory.
There are two metro Atlanta communities in particular that have suffered extraordinarily from ethylene oxide exposure: Smyrna and Covington.
According to the same EPA report cited above, and described in an article published by 11 Alive, the EPA considers it unacceptable for a community to have 100 extra incidences of cancer per 1 million people exposed (to ethylene oxide). In Smyrna, the cancer rate following ethylene oxide exposure was 114 additional cases of cancer; in Covington, there were more than 200 additional cases of cancer reported. This has resulted in the issue being referred to as the “Covington cancer cluster.” The Covington area exposure is the result of operations at the Becton Dickinson (BD) Bard plant.
Perhaps most shocking about the issue is not that ethylene oxide is dangerous or that cancer rates have skyrocketed in communities where ethylene oxide exposure has occurred, but that officials have known about the risks of ethylene oxide exposure for decades, yet people in communities living close to ethylene oxide-emitting facilities are being exposed to the toxin at concentrations up to 14 times higher than studies suggest are safe.
How Our Georgia Environmental Law & Toxic Tort Lawyers Can Help
In order to bring forth a successful toxic tort claim, you’ll need a skilled attorney on your side who has the resources your case demands. Toxic tort and environmental injury claims are among the most complex types of legal cases. Various experts will need to be called in, a thorough investigation must be conducted, and a strong, well-documented case must be presented. You can be certain that BD Bard, Becton Dickenson, Sterigenics, or any other large corporate defendant will have excellent attorneys on its side. These companies have an enormous amount of resources at their disposal. Do not go up against them alone. When you reach out to the office of MG Law, you can level the playing field. Among other things, our Georgia toxic tort attorneys are prepared to:
- Conduct a free, confidential assessment of your toxic tort claim;
- Listen to your story and explain your options;
- Understand exactly how ethylene oxide or other chemical exposure affected you and your family;
- Comprehensively investigate your case—securing all relevant evidence; and
- Take aggressive legal action to protect your rights and interests.
We understand ethylene oxide injuries and toxic tort claims. Whether you are considering pursuing legal action against BD Bard, Sterigenics, or any other company, our top-rated Covington & Smyrna environmental tort lawyers are ready to help. We are proud to be leaders in the community and in the courtroom. Our legal team will work tirelessly to get justice, accountability, and full financial compensation.