Public officials call on Sterigenics to shut down Smyrna operations pending testing

Sterigenics sign in article about EPA accepting comments on ethyline oxideSterigenics (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)

According to an email from Georgia State Representative Erick Allen, he and several other elected officials have requested that Sterigenics suspend its Smyrna operations until independent testing has been done.

Allen, along with U.S. Congressman David Scott, Georgia State Senator Jen Jordan, and Georgia Representative Teri Anulewicz have put forward the request.

Scott said in a news release, “The health of the people in our community is priority number one for me. I am alarmed by recent reports of the Sterigenics plant emitting dangerous levels of a toxic, cancer-causing chemical into the air. This plant is closely located near residential communities, schools, a shelter for homeless women and children, the Chattahoochee River, and an animal shelter – placing hundreds of Smyrna residents and families at serious health risk. This situation is urgent and must be rectified right away.”

“I am joining with State Representative Erick Allen and Senator Jen Jordan and calling on Sterigenics to suspend operations at their Smyrna facility until independent emissions testing may be conducted. We are also demanding transparency and an explanation as to the actions, or the lack thereof, in the management of the cancerous chemical, and communication with the Smyrna community of its associated risks,” he said.

Allen’s email said, “The City of Smyrna and Cobb County are working together to hire an independent firm to sample the air quality near the Sterigenics plant on behalf of the city and the county. Commissioner Ott is expected to add this as an agenda item at the August 13th Cobb County Board of Commissioners’ meeting. “

The Sterigenics plant became a focus of community concern after an article jointly published by Georgia Health News and WebMD reported that three census tracts, two in the Smyrna area and one in Covington had unacceptable levels of cancer risk by EPA standards, due to elevated amounts of ethylene oxide in the air.

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