The first six of what attorneys said could be more than 100 lawsuits were filed recently in Georgia against Sterigenics and Becton Dickinson (NYSE:BDX) by people who have lived, worked or attended school near those companies’ medical device sterilization plants.
The plants use ethylene oxide (EtO) to sterilize millions of devices per year and reportedly have emitted thousands pounds of the gas into the atmosphere over the past. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency named EtO a Level 1 carcinogen in 2016. Two years later, the EPA’s National Air Toxics Assessment identified 12 areas of the country with elevated levels of EtO emissions and associated cancer risk, including the areas of Georgia where BD and Sterigenics have EtO plants.
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