Sterigenics Sept. 3 (21).JPG

The Sterigenics plant in Cobb County uses ethylene oxide, a carcinogen, to sterilize medical devices.

Those keen to have their voices heard in regards to the industrial use of ethylene oxide — a known carcinogen — near homes, schools, churches and workplaces now have an avenue to do so.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is collecting public submissions on this issue ahead of a two-day special meeting in Washington to discuss how to advance medical sterilization technology and reduce the industry’s use of ethylene oxide without compromising the supply of effectively sterilized medical devices.

The use of ethylene oxide in several communities throughout America, including in Cobb County where a Sterigenics plant emits the toxin, is a growing concern among many, fearful airborne emissions from such medical sterilization plants is causing cancer.

The public two-day meeting in Washington will be held 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Nov. 6 and 7 at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

It will be an opportunity for the FDA’s General Hospital and Personal Use Devices Panel of the Medical Devices Advisory Committee to consider the public’s view, and that of the medical sterilization industry, in how to regulate the use of ethylene oxide going forward.

Comments or submissions from the public submitted to the FDA by Oct. 21 will be provided to the committee for consideration at the meeting.

Any comments or submissions lodged after that will still be considered by the FDA, its website states.

Members of the public can also register to speak at the event, which will also be shared live through a webcast so those unable to attend in person can still watch it on the internet.

More detailed information about the meeting, including links for the webcast and instructions for making submissions, can be found at the meeting website:

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