Memphis, Tennessee (Sterilization Services of Tennessee)
Sterilization Services of Tennessee is located at 2396 Florida Street, Memphis, TN. The facility uses ethylene oxide (EtO) to sterilize medical equipment and materials.
EPA scientists and analysts recently completed a risk assessment to understand the impact of EtO emissions from the Sterilization Services of Tennessee facility. As part of this risk assessment, we used the most recent available information about how much EtO the company emits into the air and we modeled estimated cancer risks to people living nearby. The risk assessment identified elevated cancer risk in the Memphis community. EPA is committed to working with state and local agencies, facilities, and communities to reduce this risk.
NOTE: The risk information on this map, from July 2022, is no longer current. EPA is archiving this map because it no longer portrays everything we know about risk. In a number of cases, commercial sterilizers have made improvements or changes to operations that have reduced risks to residents.
EPA has proposed two new actions to address emissions of ethylene oxide from commercial sterilizers and to reduce risks for people who live, work, or go to school near these facilities. Learn about these actions.
Sterilization Services of Tennessee
This map shows EPA’s estimates of lifetime cancer risks from EtO near Sterilization Services of Tennessee in Memphis, TN. As you can see from the map risk decreases with distance from the facility.
The area in blue shows estimated lifetime cancer risks of 100 in a million or greater from breathing air containing EtO emitted from the facility (or the same as 1 additional cancer case in 10,000 people). A lifetime cancer risk of 100 in a million means that, if 1 million people were exposed to this level of EtO in the air 24 hours a day for 70 years, 100 people would be expected to develop cancer from that exposure.
The area in dark blue on the map shows that EtO exposure could contribute to a maximum increased risk level of 20 cancer cases if 10,000 people were exposed for 70 years (or 2,000 in 1 million). EPA cannot predict whether an individual person will develop cancer.
View a larger version of the map and legend in a new browser tab.
For this risk assessment, we looked at excess cancer risk attributable to a single chemical, EtO. This estimated risk is in addition to the risk of developing cancer from other causes. This is a worst-case scenario that assumes a person stays in the highest risk area 24 hours a day continuously for 70 years. EPA takes this approach because we want to be protective of the most exposed and most vulnerable individuals from risk associated with EtO emissions from this facility.
- Read additional information on EtO, including information on our current understanding of risks from ethylene oxide.
This community is in West Tennessee in Shelby County. Sterilization Services of Tennessee began operation in 1976 and has approximately eight employees. It is a contract sterilizer of medical equipment. There has been no recent installation of controls and no current plans for new controls at this time.
What EPA is Doing to Address Ethylene Oxide
Now: EPA is working with the Shelby County Health Department and the state of Tennessee to reduce emissions at Sterilization Services of Tennessee. EPA has provided technical support to our air agency partners as part of this work. The Agency is reviewing controls on regulated equipment and processes that emit EtO to determine whether additional air pollution controls are needed. This review includes examining new developments in practices, processes and control technologies, considering cost and feasibility, as well as addressing any previously unregulated emission points.
Soon: Later this year, EPA will propose strengthening current regulations for Ethylene Oxide Commercial Sterilizers. EPA will consider risk as part of the proposed regulations.
- Learn more about regulation for EtO Sterilization Facilities.
- More information about actions you can take
- View the Ethylene Oxide Emissions Information for Residents October 2022 Fact Sheet (pdf)
Contact EPA Region 4 at Region4EtO@epa.gov or 1-800-241-1754.
Two community meetings (one in the morning and one in the evening) were held on October 18, 2022 at Monumental Baptist Church at 704 S Parkway, East Memphis, TN 38106.
Morning Session, 11:15 a.m. CT: View the recorded morning session here.
Evening Session, 7:15 p.m. CT: View the recorded evening session here.
View the slide presentation from both meetings: Ethylene Oxide and Risk in the Community of Memphis Tennessee Slide Presentation (pdf) .