Archives: Emerging Chemical Issues

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Emerging Chemical Issues – Ethylene Oxide (Part 5 of 5): OIG, EPA and the Consequences of Premature Public Disclosures

U.S. EPA has recently come under fire from its quasi-independent auditor, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), which has issued multiple reports accusing EPA of not moving with sufficient speed or transparency to increase regulations of sources of EtO. In these reports, OIG pressed the issue by publishing EPA draft work files, over EPA’s … Continue Reading

Emerging Chemical Issues – Ethylene Oxide (Part 4 of 5): Special Considerations Related to the Sterilization Industry

Commercial sterilization operations find themselves in a more unique and complex regulatory context than many other industrial sources of EtO. Unlike the chemical manufacturing industry, which can often make decisions about EtO usage based solely on the grounds of technical feasibility and costs, sterilizers may not be able to accept some methods of emission limitations, … Continue Reading

Emerging Chemical Issues – Ethylene Oxide (Part 3 of 5): Challenges to the IRIS EtO URE

Today’s alert looks at the current status of challenges to the IRIS EtO URE and EPA’s related rulemaking proceedings. Sterilizers have been one of the most widely publicized sources of EtO, and have taken the brunt of enforcement actions and plaintiffs’ lawsuits based on EtO exposures in the past couple years since publication of the … Continue Reading

Emerging Chemical Issues – Ethylene Oxide (Part 2 of 5): A Patchwork of State Regulation

Federal law generally sets a floor, rather than a ceiling, when it comes to emission reduction regulations, and thus, when assessing a facility’s compliance and legal risks it is important to track state and local laws, regulations, and enforcement activities. This is particularly important for EtO, where several states have gotten ahead of EPA in … Continue Reading

Emerging Chemical Issues – Ethylene Oxide (Part 1 of 5): Why It Matters

In the past two years, hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against companies based on their emissions of a chemical called ethylene oxide (often referred to as “EtO” or “EO”). Multiple facilities that handle EtO also have been shut down on a temporary or permanent basis, and many others have been subjected to administrative enforcement … Continue Reading
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