Ethylene Oxide (EtO)

On August 3, 2022, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the findings from studies conducted in the area surrounding a sterilization plant in South Memphis. The plant, located at 2396 Florida Street in southwest Memphis, is operated by Sterilization Services of Tennessee and uses a chemical gas called ethylene oxide to sterilize medical equipment. 

The facility is in compliance with the EPA’s current rules and regulations. However, the EPA has new information about EtO emissions at certain commercial sterilizer facilities in 23 locations around the country, including the one in Memphis. EPA is engaging with communities near those facilities to develop more protective Clean Air Act standards for EtO emissions.  

Shelby County Health Department is working with the EPA, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Tennessee Department of Health and the City of Memphis to provide information to the community about this announcement and what it means to the health of the people who live and work near the facility. 

The EPA will host a public meeting in Memphis on September 8, 2022. Residents are urged to attend. Click the following link to register: https://www.epa.gov/hazardous-air-pollutants-ethylene-oxide/forms/memphis-tennessee-sterilization-services-tennessee#form.

Click the link for answers to some frequently asked questions about ethylene oxide and potential health impacts.