Ethylene Oxide is an odorless, colorless gas that is often used to sterilize medical equipment. It functions as a disinfectant, fungicide, and a pesticide. The Environmental Protection Agency and the International Agency for Research on Cancer recognize ethylene oxide as a known human carcinogen.
When a person inhales ethylene oxide, the gas can destroy DNA and damage cells. Exposure to ethylene oxide can cause a variety of dangerous conditions, such as blood disorders, emphysema, nervous system damage, miscarriages, and infertility. Prolonged ethylene oxide exposure has also been linked to cancers, including breast cancer, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, lung cancer, lymphocytic leukemia, myeloma, Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, pancreatic cancer, stomach cancer, uterine cancer.
Sterigenics International, a company that uses ethylene oxide to sterilize food, medical, and pharmaceutical equipment, currently faces lawsuits from former employees and nearby residents. The plaintiffs claim that the company, which has sterilization plants across the country and in Georgia, allowed high levels of ethylene oxide to escape its facilities, exposing them to carcinogens and causing clusters of cancer outbreaks. Other companies may be similarly responsible for their use of ethylene oxide.
If you or a loved one lived near a facility that used ethylene oxide and have been diagnosed with one of the above medical issues, please contact us.