In many areas of Georgia, the smell of farm life, factories and other industries is common and tolerable. You may think nothing of sending your children out to play as strange odors waft through the air because you trust that those responsible for the odors are taking the proper steps to monitor the levels of toxins and keep them below the danger level.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case. In fact, one local industry may be lax in its controls of dangerous fumes from ethylene oxide and may be avoiding the Environmental Protection Agency by failing to report its emissions statistics to the government. This means you and your family may be breathing in dangerous ethylene oxide.
The dangers of ethylene oxide
Ethylene oxide is a common ingredient for the sterilization of medical equipment, which is the process performed by one company’s two facilities in metro Atlanta. Heat and steam typically used to sanitize items can cause damage to the delicate surgical instruments, and ethylene oxide is an effective, though risky, substitute. In fact, environmental, medical and other scientific researchers have concluded that prolonged exposure to ethylene oxide may result in any of the following:
- Breast cancer
- Brain tumors
- Cancers in the reproductive organs
- Leukemia and other blood cancers
However, even when exposure to ethylene oxide does not result in cancer, it may cause serious illnesses and uncomfortable symptoms. Inhaling the substance is difficult to avoid when sterilization plants emit it into the air in your neighborhood. In fact, one local neighborhood has experienced more than 100 times the acceptable levels of ethylene oxide in the air, which may be the cause of a marked increase in cancer cases in recent years.
Profit over safety
Despite fines and deadlines, the company using ethylene oxide apparently continues to release toxins into the air. Tragically, it is not unusual for businesses to resist embracing safety measures that may cost them money, slow down production or otherwise eat into their profits. This may leave you, your family and your neighbors trapped in an environment filled with dangerous chemicals in the air, water and ground.
You can fight back, however. If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries or developed a catastrophic illness because of exposure to toxic chemicals, you can send a message to those responsible by taking the matter to civil court with the assistance of a strong legal advocate with experience in toxic tort law.