Air monitoring equipment at a state facility is set up to collect samples to test ethylene oxide levels. (Meris Lutz/AJC)

Sterilization Services of Georgia in Fulton agrees to plant upgrades

An industrial facility next to the Chattahoochee River in Fulton County has agreed to install additional pollution controls to address concerns over toxic emissions, according to state regulators.

Sterilization Services of Georgia is one of several facilities across the state that have come under scrutiny for their permitted use of ethylene oxide, a carcinogenic gas used to sterilize medical equipment and some food products.

In 2015, the company was cited for failing to report a hazardous material spill after releasing an unknown quantity of ethylene oxide into the atmosphere.

On Friday, the state Environmental Protection Division released a letter to the company regarding upgrades to the plant.

“In late 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency determined that ethylene oxide was a carcinogen and updated their risk calculations,” the letter reads. “As a result of increased concerns about ethylene oxide emissions, the Division has been requesting voluntary controls at existing ethylene oxide sterilization facilities and has identified the control of emissions from the back vents of the sterilization chambers as a common practice that Sterilization Service of Georgia does not currently utilize.”

“The company has agreed to install back vents controls to further reduce emissions of ethylene oxide at the facility,” it concludes.

It asks the company to submit a new permit application by Sept. 27.

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