Inspector General follow-up: Ethylene Oxide
EPA Follow-up to March 2020 Office of the Inspector General report
As EPA pursues its mission to protect public health and the environment, addressing ethylene oxide (EtO) remains a major priority for the Agency. EPA’s National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA), released in August 2018, identified a number of areas (census tracts) with potentially elevated risk from continuous exposure, over 70 years, to EtO in the outdoor air. NATA estimated these risks based on EtO emissions from 2014, which were the most recently available at the time. Actual risks today may be higher or lower than NATA estimated due to several factors, including updated or more refined facility emissions information, or recent facility changes such as the installation of pollution controls.
NATA is a screening-level analysis that is intended to identify pollutants or areas for closer examination. Because of this, additional work is needed to better understand emissions in areas that NATA identified as potentially having elevated risk. EPA has been supporting its state air agency partners as they conduct that work and identify opportunities for reducing EtO emissions from individual facilities, while the Agency reviews its national regulations for industrial facilities that emit EtO.
On March 31, 2020, the EPA Office of the Inspector General issued a management alert that called on EPA to provide information to the 25 communities that NATA identified as potentially having the highest risk from EtO emissions. The status reports on this page describe the technical analyses and outreach conducted for those areas since NATA was issued in August 2018.
Note: EPA is compiling more current and complete emissions data to generate new risk estimates for the more than 100 EtO sterilizers across the country as part of its work to develop a proposed revision for the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for EtO sterilization facilities. These estimates will replace the NATA estimates and could include additional facilities. EPA will share this information with the public as part of its upcoming proposed rule.
Status reports: NATA follow-up work, by state/territory and city
Sterigenics Cobb County, Smyrna
Sterigenics, Willowbrook (closed)
Air Products Performance Manufacturing Inc., Reserve
Sasol Chemicals – Lake Charles Chemical Complex, Westlake
Grand Rapids - Viant Medical (no longer using EtO)
Jackson – Midwest Sterilization
Houston – Shell Technology Center
Laredo – Midwest Sterilization
South Charleston – Union Carbide