Setting the Record Straight: The Facts
Environmental Protection Agency Study
In November 2019, the EPA released results of a comprehensive nationwide analysis of EtO levels across the country and found the average amount of EtO present in the air nationwide (also known as background levels) was between 0.2 and 0.4 micrograms of EtO per cubic meter of air1.
EtO levels measured in Covington by the Georgia EPD and BD are consistent with the average background levels
the EPA found nationwide in urban and rural areas that are not near sterilization facilities.
This means that people who work in, live near or drive by BD facilities in these communities every day are exposed to the same low levels of EtO found in every community sampled by the U.S. EPA.
Average Background Levels of EtO Across the United States
Green: The Covington, Ga. average is the average of both EPD monitoring data from areas near BD’s sterilization facility and data from a third-party engineering company performing air monitoring around BD’s GDC in Covington, as required by EPD.
Average concentrations of EtO in Covington’s ambient air samples were 0.259 µg/m3, according to the combined results of data collected by the Georgia EPD and data from a third-party engineering company as required by GA EPD.
Usage in Perspective
make everyday products including
cosmetics, shampoos, laundry
detergents, clothing, and carpets. It's
even used to sterilize food.
BD is just a very small
fraction of that.
The vast majority of ethylene oxide in our air comes from organic and industrial sources other than medical device sterilization facilities.
EtO is a byproduct of combustion, meaning it is produced by campfires, grills, cigars and cigarettes, auto exhaust, lawn mowers and many other sources. EtO is found in rural areas where there are swamps and decaying debris.
Even our own bodies produce EtO.
BD Technology: Investments and Upgrades
BD has been employing technology that is superior to many other medical sterilization facilities for more than 20 years.
Since August 2019, BD has voluntarily invested nearly $40 million at the sites to fund several upgrades and process changes to further reduce emissions: