COVINGTON, Ga (WGCL) — Georgia Governor Brian Kemp says the public’s health is paramount amid toxic air scandals across the metro.
On Monday, Gov. Kemp’s office filed a formal complaint to temporarily suspend operations at Becton Dickinson medical sterilization facility in Covington.
“After months of failed negotiations, empty promises, and misleading reports of ethylene oxide leaks, we have filed a Temporary Restraining Order to suspend operations at BD in Covington. Our top priority is the health and well-being of Georgia families. This measure is necessary to ensure transparency and prevent behavior that threatens the safety of employees and the community,” said Kemp.
The toxin at the center of this ongoing health concern is ethylene oxide, a chemical known to cause cancer. Air quality testing showed the area surrounding the plant had high levels of the chemical used to sterilize medical equipment.
The Office of Attorney General Chris Carr says, “BD should be shut down until it demonstrates to the Court that it has completed the following actions:
Trained all technicians on the proper operation of all valves in the facility;
Completed corrective action to prevent a future release from all vacuum exhaust valves at the facility by installing blanks on the outlets to all vacuum exhaust valves to prevent flow regardless of valve position or condition; and
Installed necessary pollution control equipment to capture fugitive emissions of ethylene oxide at the facility and route them to a control device with at least 99 percent efficiency.
In a letter, the Office of Attorney General, goes on to state that the release of 54.5 pounds of the carcinogen was due to “lack of diligence and prolonged operator error rather than an equipment malfunction.”
This is a developing story, stay with CBS46 for updates.
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