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Lawsuit: Medical Equipment Sterilizer Plant Accused of Releasing Cancer-Causing Emissions

— November 30, 2021

Kendall Patient Recovery is at the center of a lawsuit alleging the medical equipment sterilizer plant released potentially cancerous fumes.

A medical equipment sterilizer plant, Kendall Patient Recovery, was recently hit with a lawsuit filed by more than 20 former and current Augusta residents. According to the suit, the plant released “ethylene oxide – a carcinogenic gas – in excess levels, causing everything from breast cancer to miscarriages.”

Gavel and two hardbound books on wooden table; image by Succo, via
Gavel and two hardbound books on wooden table; image by Succo, via

When commenting on the suit, attorneys representing the plaintiffs said:

“These individuals have been unknowingly inhaling ethylene oxide on a routine and continuous basis for decades…Now they are suffering from a variety of cancers, miscarriages, birth defects, and other life-altering health effects from their continuous exposure to ethylene oxide.”

One of the plaintiffs is Evelyn Armstrong. According to the lawsuit, she lived about five and a half miles from the plant. The suit states:

“Evelyn consistently … inhaled contaminated air in and around her home, her work, and in the areas surrounding the KPR facility. As a result, Evelyn was diagnosed with breast cancer around 1999. At the time of her diagnosis, Evelyn did not have notice that her medical condition was wrongfully caused or that it was caused by the Defendant’s emissions of ethylene oxide.”

In response to the allegations, attorneys representing the plant tried to have the case dismissed. According to them, the plant “never broke the law regarding the level of its emission, and that the complaint, which rests on the plaintiffs having lived near or worked in the plant and having health issues, does not actually establish that ethylene oxide from KPR was responsible for their illnesses, or indeed, that ethylene oxide was responsible at all.” The attorneys further wrote:

“Plaintiffs rely on a speculative chain of possibilities to reach the unsupported conclusion that their alleged injuries are actually traceable to KPR’s conduct, rather than something else.”

Many of the complaints are related to “historical emission levels, which were significantly higher than they have been in recent years.” According to EPA data from the Toxic Release Inventory, which is publicly available, there were “much higher quantities of released ethylene oxide from the facility, from over 4,000 pounds in 2009 to 94 pounds in 2020.” However, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division claims “the plant is meeting all the expectations for a similar plant.” Karen Hays, chief of the Air Protection Branch for the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, said:

“The risk at KPR was lower than others, and that’s due to several reasons, they use a lot less ethylene oxide, they recycle it, and their process just allows less opportunity for fugitive emissions to occur within the facility…The risk at some of the (other sites) in the state are now down to levels that KPR already was at.”


Lawsuit claims Kendall Patient Recovery caused cancer

Lawsuit claims Augusta medical equipment sterilizer plant’s emissions add to cancer risk

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