Ethylene Oxide

Atlanta Communities at High Risk for Cancer

In July of 2019, Brenda Goodman of WebMD, and Andy Miller of Georgia Health News published a story together documenting the ETO contamination in Newton County, GA caused by the BD Bard plant located in Covington and the ETO contamination in Cobb County, GA caused by the Sterigenics plant located in Smyrna. In their story, Goodman and Miller sound the alarm for residents in the affected areas on the risks associated with contamination from ethylene oxide. If you worked at either of the facilities listed above, even if you have not developed an illness yet, you may be able to file a claim. If you live in Covington or Smyrna Georgia and have developed Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma or any other lymphoid related illness, you may have a case as well. Contact the attorneys at Hammers Law Firm today if you believe you have been affected in any way by the illegal release of toxic ethylene oxide. We will listen to you and discuss potential options for filing a claim.

What is Ethylene Oxide?

Ethylene oxide, at room temperature, is a colorless gas with a sweet odor. It is commonly used as a sterilizing agent in manufacturing plants that make medical products. People who live and work near manufacturing plants who release ethylene oxide into the air are at risk for ethylene oxide exposure (“ETO”) and contamination.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (the EPA) undertook a 10-year study on the potential dangers associated with exposure to ethylene oxide. By 2016, the EPA had determined that ethylene oxide was far more dangerous than scientists had previously believed. Based on this finding, the EPA moved ethylene oxide in 2016 from a list of chemicals that probably could cause cancer to a list of chemicals that definitely caused cancer. The EPA also updated a key risk number for ethylene oxide to reflect that it was 30 times more likely to cause certain cancers than scientists had once known.

Two years later, in 2018, the EPA used that new risk number for a periodic report that assessed health risks from releases of airborne toxins in the U.S. The report, called the National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA), had flagged 109 tracts of land across the United States where cancer risks were elevated because of exposure to airborne toxins. Most of the risks in the NATA were associated with the exposure to ethylene oxide. Georgia has land in 2 counties contained in the ERA’s report with high ethylene oxide contamination. One is in Newton County, GA and the other is in Cobb County, GA.

Despite this data indicating people were being exposed to carcinogenic contaminants, the EPA chose not to put out a press release of its findings associated about ETO contamination and neither did the State of Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD). As a result, the people who have lived and worked in the impacted areas have not been aware of the exposure threat for many years. Today, companies such as BD Bard and Sterigenics continue to release ETO into the air outside of their plants causing further contamination and exposure for the citizens of Georgia. These companies simply have largely continued to do business as usual.

What to Do Now?

If you or a loved one lived and worked in Smyrna, Cobb County, Georgia or Covington, Newton County, Georgia and were exposed to air contaminated with the cancer-causing chemical ethylene oxide, and were later diagnosed with certain cancers, including:

  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL)
  • Lymphoma
  • Breast Cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Or other forms of blood-based Cancer

You may have a cancer claim for monetary damages caused by the medical plant that released the toxic ethylene oxide into the air.

Contact Hammers Law Firm’ legal team now for a free, no-obligation case consultation. You may be entitled to substantial compensation for your injuries, harms, and losses. Also, you owe no legal fees unless we recover on your behalf.

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