Cobb County sterigenics

COBB COUNTY, Ga. (CBS46) Cobb County leaders voted unanimously Tuesday to fund independent air quality testing near a facility that has released a cancer-causing gas into the air for years.

Sterigenics, located off Plant Atkinson Road near Smyrna, uses ethylene oxide to sterilize medical equipment. Company leaders acknowledge that the facility released thousands of pounds of the compound into the air for years but say the company has reduced its emissions significantly since 2016. That’s the same year the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency determined that ethylene oxide causes cancer in humans.

The public was largely unaware of the toxins being released into their community until WebMD released an article exposing what the EPA and the Georgia Department of Environmental Protection Division already knew: Sterigenics and another Georgia company called BD in Covington reported releasing dangerous levels of the gas into the air for two decades.

People who live near both plants began to mobilize, some demanding independent air quality testing.

Cobb County leaders said Tuesday it will use money from its contingency fund to hire GHD Services, Inc. to do testing and consulting.

“This is what contingency money is all about,” said Commissioner Bob Ott.

The county will split the $79,200 cost with the city of Smyrna. City council members will consider the measure Aug. 19.

The proposal for air quality testing also extends to the city of Atlanta should its leaders decide to take action.

Copyright 2019 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Copyright 2019 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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