SAND, Utah — Local health agencies monitor chemical emissions from a medical sterilization facility.
According to the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, the Environmental Protection Agency informed them that the BD Medical Facility at 9450 S. State Street may pose long-term cancer risks to surrounding residents.
In the EPA report, the facility is a medical sterilization facility that uses ethylene oxide — called EtO — to sterilize medical equipment and materials and has been in operation since 2007.
“EPA scientists and analysts recently completed a risk assessment to understand the impact of EtO emissions from the BD medical facility,” the EPA report said. “As part of this risk assessment, we used the most recent available information on the amount of EtO the company emits into the air and we modeled the estimated cancer risks for people living nearby. “
Their assessment found an “elevated cancer risk in the Sandy community” as of July 27.
In the EPA’s risk map, residents of Evening Star Way at State Route 209 and Brandy Creel Drive at US Highway 89 have a higher lifetime residential cancer risk.
However, the assessment also clarifies that this is a “worst-case scenario”, as a person would need to be in the zone 24 hours a day for 70 years to be at risk.
“The EPA has determined, through computer modeling, that BD Medical does not emit EtO into the air at levels that pose short-term health risks,” the DEQ statement read.
The two agencies said they are working with the BD medical facility to reduce emissions through new practices, processes, technologies and other means to reduce EtO emissions.
“While compliant with all applicable air pollution regulations, BD Medical has shared plans to voluntarily make upgrades that will significantly reduce EtO emissions when in place” , says the DEQ.
3/Estimates revealed that the lifetime cancer risks for people living near the BD facility (24 hour/day exposure level for 70 years) range from 100 in a million (1 additional cancer case in 10,000) to 3,000 in a million (30 additional cancer cases in 10,000 people) https://t.co/oElsaOS7Gt
— Utah DEQ (@UtahDEQ) August 3, 2022
BD Medical aims to reduce EtO emissions from the facility by 90% to 95% within the next year.
Sandy City, SLCoHD, DHHS and the U of U are also contributing by working with BD Medical and will release a health risk assessment by September 2023, with intermittent results to be made public.
If you want to learn more, you can join the EPA national webinar on August 10 and a local community meeting on August 17.