Kemp to meet with companies behind toxic emissions

File Photo: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. (ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)

File Photo: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. (ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)

Gov. Brian Kemp weighed in late Friday on concerns over toxic emissions from two metro Atlanta industrial facilities, several hours after the Environmental Protection Division announced it would conduct air sampling near both.

In a video posted to Twitter, Kemp said he understood people were worried, and that the public had been kept in the dark about the chemical in question, a carcinogen called ethylene oxide.

"This situation is simply unacceptable," Kemp said. The governor then echoed EPD Director Richard Dunn in praising voluntary measures one of the companies, Sterigenics, has said it plans to take to reduce emissions.

The governor said the state was in talks with another company, BD Bard in Covington, to do the same.

“Next week, we will meet with both companies to ensure that they take responsibility, embrace transparency, and work with their communities to build trust,” Kemp said.

Janet Rau, president of the activist group Stop Sterigenics Georgia, welcomed Kemp’s comments regarding transparency. But, she said his statement does not change her group’s demand for more extensive air testing than what the government announced Friday.

“Verification is incredibly, incredibly important,” she said. “The trust has been broken.”

This week, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the first air sample taken in Georgia to measure ethylene oxide was well above the level deemed acceptable by federal regulators.