Sterigenics has asked Cobb County, Ga. officials for permission to reopen its medical device sterilization plant to aid in the fight against the coronavirus.
Oak Park, Ill.-based Sterigenics temporarily shut the Atlanta plant on August 26 to voluntarily upgrade emission controls for ethylene oxide (EtO), the carcinogenic gas it used to sterilize medical devices. In September, Cobb County officials declared the Atlanta plant a “high-hazard” industrial facility that must meet stiffer fire safety regulations than it needed to under its previous designation as a storage facility. The county authorized third-party experts to investigate the county’s fire code and safety concerns, according to a report by the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal.
While the plant has been closed, Sterigenics installed new controls to reduce EtO emissions “beyond already safe levels protecting employees and the community,” the company said on its website. “The Atlanta facility met or outperformed U.S. EPA and Georgia (Environmental Protection Division) regulations prior to the enhancements. Voluntary upgrades to the emission control system render it one of the most advanced sterilization facilities in the world in terms of capture and control of (EtO).”