Ethylene oxide is an organic compound comprised of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen (C2H40) that is typically used to manufacture consumer products, such as, among others, antifreeze, detergents, solvents, pesticides, and sterilizing agents. Ethylene oxide’s effectiveness as a sterilizer has a trade-off.
Although sterilization of medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, and food packaging (and other food products) is important, the sterilization process breaks down DNA, making the substance extremely dangerous to inhale or ingest.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) both deem ethylene oxide to be carcinogenic, meaning the substance can cause cancer.
Sterigenics International is a global company in the crosshairs of litigation for its role in allowing ethylene oxide to escape its facility in Atlanta. Although Sterigenics voluntarily shut down its Atlanta facility to undergo upgrades that will minimize ethylene oxide emissions, the company still asserts that the facility has been safe for fifty years.
Companies that use ethylene oxide to produce and/or sterilize products are well aware of the carcinogenic nature of the chemical compound. Despite such knowledge, these companies fail to warn workers, consumers, and nearby residents to their facilities that ethylene oxide exposure can lead to cancer. For women, breast cancer is of great concern, and the concern grows when women are not even aware that they have been exposed to ethylene oxide.
Is Ethylene Oxide to Blame for My Breast Cancer?
I represent a substantial number of female clients who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. I have found that some of my clients with breast cancer may have been exposed to ethylene oxide without even realizing it. In the case of the Sterigenics facility in Atlanta, emissions were reaching nearby residents, who likely had no idea they were being exposed.
The lack of transparency and the outright denial of responsibility on the part of Sterigenics and other companies that use ethylene oxide is not surprising, although quite disappointing. Companies using ethylene oxide believe that because there are many causes of breast cancer, they have a solid defense and can simply blame something else other than ethylene oxide.
While it is true that many things can cause or contribute to breast cancer, the science is clear that long-term exposure to ethylene oxide can lead to the development of cancer. Any woman who either worked in a facility that uses ethylene oxide to manufacture or sterilize consumer products or who lives or lived near the facility should undergo cancer screening.
If you fall into one of these two categories – either employed at a facility using ethylene oxide or lived nearby a facility – and you are diagnosed with breast cancer, the next step is seeking legal advice. Any party that produces ethylene oxide without adequately warning of the carcinogenic nature of the chemical compound can and should be held responsible in a court of law.
Let Me Stand Up for You and Empower You with Information About Your Legal Rights
If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer and you believe exposure to ethylene oxide may be to blame, you should act quickly to consult with me about any potential legal claims. While ethylene oxide is a carcinogenic substance that is linked to breast cancer, there are many other dangerous products that could be the cause of your breast cancer.
As a personal injury lawyer in Atlanta, I want nothing more than to protect my clients’ rights by pursuing legal action where it is warranted. I am a woman too. Hear me when I say that you deserve a full and impartial evaluation of your potential legal claims.
Stay safe out there,
Amber Gilormo, Esq.