Cobb County Orders Sterigenics To Cease Operations
The Sterigenics plant in Cobb County has been ordered to shut down.
County leaders on Tuesday ordered the sterilization facility near Smyrna to stop all construction and activity.
The company, which uses the carcinogenic gas ethylene oxide to sterilize medical equipment, had voluntarily closed last month to install air scrubbers to reduce emissions.
According to the letter, Cobb’s fire marshal and chief building official determined the facility to be a “high hazard.”
Yet, their permit allowed them to operate as a “storage” facility.
After public outcry about the use of the gas, GHD Services, a third party hired by Cobb County and other governments and Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division, began air testing.
They released results last month and about 80% of the samples came back with undetectable levels of the gas.
Before then, all the numbers had been self-reported by Sterigenics.
With the order by the county to shut down, the facility must get a new certificate of occupancy and undergo a review by county approved technical experts.
In a statement, a Sterigenics spokesperson said they are focused on making voluntary enhancements to further reduce emissions.
“We continue to engage with officials regarding the process to resume operations,” company officials said. “The sterilization of vital medical products and devices at our Atlanta facility is critical to keeping patients safe and extended delay in resuming those operations places patient safety at risk.”
The company’s president said they sterilize millions of products at its Smyrna location.