EPA to Host Sept. 13 Virtual Community Meeting for Taunton and Norton Mass. Residents
Community meeting will focus on informing residents about health risks from a nearby sterilization facility
(Taunton, Mass.) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will host a virtual community meeting for residents of Taunton and Norton, Massachusetts to share information about health risks from the chemical, ethylene oxide (or EtO). The community meeting will take place virtually on September 13 at 7:00 p.m. During the meeting EPA staff will discuss potential risks for residential and commercial properties within one mile of Professional Contract Sterilization, Inc. (PCS), a commercial sterilizer facility located at 40 Miles Standish Boulevard in Taunton.
EPA will share and discuss new information on lifetime risk levels for people who live near this facility and will hear from community members and other stakeholders about their concerns.
EPA analysis indicates that the ambient air near this facility does not exceed short-term health benchmarks. However, EPA modeling indicates that a lifetime of exposure to EtO emissions could lead to long-term health impacts if risk levels are not reduced. EPA is working with facilities like PCS to take appropriate steps to reduce emissions. Later this year, EPA expects to propose a new rule which will update the regulation that sets how much EtO can come out of facilities like the one in Taunton. This rulemaking effort is being done to protect public health by addressing EtO emissions at commercial sterilizers.
- Virtual Zoom Meeting on Tuesday September 13, 2022; 7:00 p.m.
EPA is reaching out to local communities facing elevated risks from certain commercial sterilizer facilities; including state and local governments; other interested parties; and industry, to share information and hear input on protecting health and reducing risk from toxic air pollution. The agency aims to improve public understanding of the risk; help states, communities, and the industry reduce risk from EtO in the near-term; and hear input as the agency continues to develop regulations to reduce air pollution from commercial sterilizers.
Nationally, EPA continues to take significant action to address risk from EtO and advance critical EtO research. These actions include:
- Reviewing Clean Air Act regulations for industries that emit EtO into the air, particularly rules to control air toxic emissions from commercial sterilizers and facilities that manufacture chemicals with the goal of making these regulations more protective of health;
- Working with state, Territory, local and Tribal environmental agencies to reduce EtOemissions as soon as possible;
- Expanding environmental reporting requirements for sterilization facilities;
- Reevaluating how EtO is used within sterilization facilities with the goal of reducing risks to workers who handle EtO and those who are exposed in other ways;
- Conducting research to better understand and measure EtO; and
- Using enforcement options as appropriate.