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DEP Gives New Info Re: Local Commercial Sterilization Facility, Emissions Linked to Cancer Risk

Updated: Mar 2, 2023

The U.S. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced last week that a Zelienople commercial sterilization facility was on a list of facilities that utilize a hazardous air pollutant known as ethylene oxide – a compound linked to an increased risk of cancer for the people who live nearby.

You can read our blog detailing the announcement here.

That blog noted that the company, American Contract Systems, was not subject to any sort of air quality permit from the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and had just applied for its first air quality plan approval on July 19.

We are pleased to report that in response to our blog post, a DEP representative reached out to us with additional information to explain why American Contract Systems was able to operate without such a permit.

Because the facility uses less than 1 ton of ethylene oxide per year, it is exempt from the permitting requirements that exist under both the Pennsylvania air pollution regulations and the National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants for commercial sterilization facilities that use ethylene oxide.

And this is good news in light of EPA’s announcement and anticipated stricter regulations, American Contract Systems will voluntarily install pollution control equipment that is expected to reduce its existing emissions of ethylene oxide by at least 99 percent.

As a reminder: The application for a plan approval that American Contract Systems submitted to DEP on July 19 was to authorize the installation of these new pollution controls.

We expect and hope that the emission reductions will mean that American Contract Systems’ neighbors will no longer face an increased risk of cancer from its emissions of ethylene oxide.

GASP thanks DEP for both the new details and its transparency.

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