Sterigenics allowed by federal court to resume normal operations while litigation continues

Sterigenics sign in article about lawsuit Sterigenics, BD BardSterigenics (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)

Sterigenics has been granted a consent order to resume their normal operations until a final ruling is made in their lawsuit.

Sterigenics distributed the following press release about the ruling this afternoon:

April 8, 2020 –Atlanta, GA –Sterigenics, a leading provider of mission-critical sterilization services to the healthcare industry,today announced that the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia has entered a Consent Order authorizing Sterigenics to continue normal sterilization operations at its Atlanta facility.

The Order follows the April 1 ruling that allowed Sterigenics to fully resume sterilization operations at the facility and authorizes Sterigenics to continue those operations during the litigation through the Court’s entry of a final judgment in the case. In connection with the announcement, Sterigenics issued the following statement:

“We are pleased the Court has entered the order to continue the safe sterilization of vital medical products and devices at our Atlanta facility.

In addition to being one of the most advanced sterilization facilities in Georgia and the United States in terms of emission control, our Atlanta facility plays a critical role in serving the urgent needs of health care workers and patients.

We will continue our safe sterilization operations at the facility in the interest of public health. We are confident the legal proceedings will ultimately confirm our legal rights to continue those operations beyond the litigation for future public health needs.

This ruling removes the 14-day time limit an earlier temporary restraining order placed on the county, and allows Sterigenics to operate until the final disposition of their suit.

Background

The Sterigenics plant became a focus of community concern in Smyrna and surrounding areas 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.

The site has been the subject of community organizing and protests.

In February scheduled testing at the plant was canceled, and Monday of last week the previously canceled testing was resumed.

Cobb Board of Commissioners Chairman Mike Boyce then issued an emergency order at the urging of the FDA allowing the plant to reopen temporarily. Sterigenics objected to the temporary nature of the reopening, and then filed suit.

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