We are very concerned with the potential shut down of BD’s Covington facility over the use of EtO. Ethylene oxide is the safest, and sometimes, only method for ensuring the sterilization of medical devices for clinicians and patients. Approximately 50 percent of all medical devices are sterilized using EtO, accounting for more than 20 billion devices annually in the U.S. Many of our members manufacture devices and products that cannot be sterilized by any other means due to their complex nature, including pacemakers, implantable defibrillators, cardiac catheters, biopsy instruments and surgical fixation devices and vascular access devices including PICCs, midlines and ports. BD is the largest supplier of urinary catheters that are used in almost every surgical procedure that takes longer than 2 hours. They are also one of the only suppliers for pediatric vascular access devices used to deliver chemotherapy to children with cancer.
Georgia Bio believes policy makers have an obligation to protect the public from harmful emissions from any source, and we believe all industrial facilities in our state should meet or exceed safety standards. We support an open and transparent debate regarding EtO that is grounded in scientific fact, but caution that a hasty decision to close this facility or severely restrict the use of ethylene oxide would endanger the health of thousands, possibly even millions, of patients who are relying on sterile medical products.