Professor shares insight on DNA altering toxin found in Metro Atlanta

COBB COUNTY, Ga. (CBS46) -- One of Sterigenics’s neighboring companies has shut down shop amid on-going concerns over cancerous toxins. 

Lights out, door looked, and it will stay that way for at least the near future due to Ethylene Oxide.

Sterigenics’s neighbor, IHG sent CBS46 News a statement that reads:

“In consideration of recent news reports regarding the facility adjacent to our Olympic Industrial design center, and in an abundance of caution, we have paused all activity at this location and advised our teams not to access the work space until further notice as we work to gather additional details.”

CBS46 wanted to gather more details of our own, so we spoke to Morehouse Professor and Environmental Biologist Lawrence Blumer. He tells reporter Trason Bragg that Ethylene oxide is heavier than air.

“If it’s heavier than the air it stays near ground level. If it stays near ground level you know you could be venting it out of a building, but it’s going to be near ground level until the air mixes and it’s diluted enough,” Blumer explained.

He added that is a problem because even if you avoid breathing the chemical you may still be affected.

“With this compound it’s absorbed right through the skin,” said Blumer.

If exposed to high enough quantities of the chemical, the effects could be devastating.

“We know that it’s a cancer-causing agent, we know that it can also be mutagenic that it causes changes in the DNA in the genetic material. They can also cause developmental abnormalities,” Blumer said.

The professor added scientists are working to learn how dangerous low exposure of this cancer causing chemical can really be.

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