Georgia device sterilizer fined $3K per day over ethylene oxide emissions

Georgia officials are charging a medical device sterilization plant in Atlanta $3,000 a day for failing to install new filters to reduce ethylene oxide emissions, according to Medical Design & Outsourcing

Sterilization Services of Georgia agreed with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to install a new filtration system by Dec. 31, 2019, in an effort to reduce emissions of ethylene oxide, a cancer-causing chemical commonly used to sterilize medical devices. 

The sterilizer reportedly ran into a delay when installing the system and failed to do so by the deadline. According to a consent order the company signed with the Georgia EPA Jan. 7, its punishment for missing the deadline is a $3,000 fine every day until it gets the system installed and operating. 

Under the agreement, if Sterilization Services fails to install the filtration system by Feb. 1, the company must reduce its use of ethylene oxide by 25 percent. If it is not installed by Feb. 28, the sterilizer must stop using ethylene oxide completely until it can install the system, Medical Design & Outsourcing reported. 

The fine against Sterilization Services comes as concerns over ethylene oxide causing cancer have prompted several medical device sterilization facility closures, causing the FDA to warn of a critical medical device shortage. 

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