Sterigenics and its parent company are being sued by fifty-three people who worked in an Atlanta-area warehouse that stored medical devices sterilized by ethylene oxide (EtO) over exposure to the gas.
The individuals or their families allege that they unloaded, handled, warehoused or distributed devices that had been sterilized by EtO, and that the long-term exposure led to several deaths and other diseases such as cancer, tumors, respiratory, pulmonary, epidermal, hematological, cardiological, and neurological among others. The employees worked at the ConMed (NSDQ:CNMD) plant in Cobb County, Ga.
EtO is considered a human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. There has been a massive outcry by people who live near or work in the EtO plants in Michigan, Illinois, and Georgia. In the lawsuit, the workers allege that their employer did not disclose the presence of EtO on the devices for some time, misrepresented the health dangers of the gas, and lied to toxicology experts and the OSHA, hence depriving them of workers’ compensation.
The lawsuit also claims that Sterigenics and certain Sterigenics employees in Oak Park, Ill. failed to sufficiently aerate the sterilized boxes before they were transported to the ConMed warehouse. ConMed also lied to the employees that exposure to the boxes was not harmful. The exposure allegedly took place between 2010 and April 26, 2019.