Maywood Ethylene Oxide Lawyers

Residents of Maywood, California, living near the Sterigenics facility in Vernon, have faced significant health risks due to EtO emissions.

If the Sterigenics plant exposed you to Ethylene Oxide in Maywood, CA, contact an experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney at TopDog Law to learn how we can help you today.

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Table of Contents

What Is Ethylene Oxide?

Ethylene Oxide (EtO) is a colorless gas with a slightly sweet odor. It is primarily used for sterilizing.

EtO is a highly reactive chemical that kills bacteria, viruses, and fungi. It is produced through the oxidation of ethylene and is used in various industrial processes in both gaseous and liquid forms. 

Despite its utility, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classify EtO as a human carcinogen.

Prolonged exposure to EtO can lead to severe health conditions, including various types of cancer and respiratory problems.

The Sterigenics plant, located at 4900 Gifford Ave, Vernon, CA 90058, has worried the surrounding communities, including Maywood, Huntington Park, and Bell.

Recent reports and studies have indicated elevated levels of Ethylene Oxide in Maywood, Huntington Park, Bell, and in the surrounding areas, prompting legal actions and community advocacy.


Common Uses of EtO in Industry

EtO is used in several industries due to its versatility and effectiveness as a sterilizing agent and chemical intermediate.

Some of its common uses include:

  • Medical Sterilization. EtO is extensively used to sterilize medical and surgical equipment, especially heat-sensitive items that cannot be sterilized by steam. This includes surgical instruments, syringes, and other medical devices.
  • Food Industry: Ethylene Oxide sterilizes spices and other food products, killing bacteria and other pathogens.
  • Chemical Manufacturing. EtO is a building block for producing various chemicals, including ethylene glycol (used in antifreeze), surfactants, detergents, and solvents.
  • Textile and Plastic Production. It is used to manufacture textiles and plastics, producing polyester fibers and polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

What Are the Health Risks Associated with Ethylene Oxide?

Carcinogenic Properties

EtO is classified as a Group 1 carcinogen by the IARC and a known human carcinogen by the EPA. According to the National Cancer Institute, long-term exposure to EtO may cause an increased risk of various cancers.

EtO can damage DNA, leading to mutations and subsequent cancer development.

Types of Cancer Linked to EtO Exposure

  • Lymphoma. Studies have shown a significant correlation between EtO exposure and the development of lymphoma, a cancer that affects the lymphatic system.
  • Leukemia. Prolonged exposure to EtO has been associated with an increased risk of leukemia, a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow.
  • Breast Cancer. There is evidence that EtO exposure increases the risk of breast cancer, particularly in women working in facilities where EtO is used.
  • Stomach Cancer. Some studies suggest a link between EtO exposure and stomach cancer, though further research is needed to understand this association fully.

Other Impacts on Health Caused by Ethylene Oxide

Beyond its carcinogenic properties, Ethylene Oxide exposure can lead to various other health issues:

  • Respiratory Problems. Chronic exposure to EtO can cause respiratory issues such as asthma, bronchitis, and other lung conditions. Workers exposed to high levels of EtO may experience shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing.
  • Reproductive Health Problems. EtO exposure has been linked to adverse reproductive health effects, including miscarriages, infertility, and birth defects. Studies have shown that both male and female reproductive systems can be affected by EtO.
  • Neurological Effects. Prolonged exposure to EtO can also damage the nervous system, leading to headaches, dizziness, memory loss, and peripheral neuropathy (numbness or tingling in the extremities).

Vernon Sterigenics Facility and Maywood Community Impact

The Sterigenics facility in Vernon, California, operates under a permit that allows controlled emissions of Ethylene Oxide (EtO).

Despite regulatory limits, the facility has been a significant source of EtO emissions, impacting nearby communities, including Maywood.

EPA Findings and ATSDR Report
In 2018, the EPA conducted air sampling around the Vernon facility. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) evaluated these samples.

They concluded that residents and workers in the surrounding areas are exposed to elevated EtO levels, posing an increased cancer risk.

James Helm, Personal Injury Lawyer

Specific Health Impacts on Maywood Community

Residents of Maywood, located close to the Vernon facility, have experienced higher incidences of cancer and other health issues attributed to EtO exposure.

The densely populated area, including schools and parks, heightens the community’s vulnerability.

Studies show that people living within 1.5 miles of the plant are significantly more likely to develop cancer due to the Ethylene Oxide used at the facility.

Legal Actions and Community Response

In March 2024, Maywood residents filed a lawsuit against Sterigenics. The lawsuit alleges that Sterigenics’ emissions of EtO have caused significant health problems for those living near the Vernon facility.

The legal actions aim to hold the company accountable for exposing the community to dangerous levels of Ethylene Oxide.

Allegations and Claims

The lawsuit contends that Sterigenics failed to implement adequate safety measures, resulting in harmful EtO emissions. The claims include violations of state environmental laws and public nuisance.

Community Advocacy

Local advocacy groups and community members have been vocal about the health risks associated with EtO exposure.

Efforts include raising awareness, organizing protests, and demanding stricter regulations and enforcement.

How to File an Ethylene Oxide Lawsuit in California

What Types of Compensation Are Available?

How Much Is an Ethylene Oxide Case Worth in Maywood?

The value of an ethylene oxide case can vary significantly based on several factors, including the severity of the health impacts, the strength of the evidence, and the jurisdiction where the case is filed. Key factors influencing the case value include:

The more severe and long-lasting health conditions generally result in higher compensation. 

For example, cases involving cancer diagnoses typically warrant more substantial damages due to the extensive treatment and long-term care required.

While each case is unique, reviewing past settlements and verdicts can provide an idea of potential compensation ranges.

In some high-profile EtO cases, settlements have reached millions of dollars, reflecting the serious health impacts and substantial economic damages.

James Helm

How TopDog Law Can Help in Maywood Ethylene Oxide Cases

TopDog Law has extensive experience representing clients affected by toxic and harmful substances like Ethylene Oxide exposure.

Our attorneys are skilled in environmental litigation and have a track record of securing favorable client outcomes.

Our commitment to client advocacy is reflected in our success stories and testimonials. Clients appreciate our thorough approach, personalized attention, and dedication to justice.

Comprehensive Support

From the initial consultation to case resolution, TopDog Law provides comprehensive support. Our team diligently gathers evidence, develops legal strategies, and achieves the best possible outcomes for our clients.

Contact an Ethylene Oxide Attorney Today

The impact of Ethylene Oxide exposure on the residents of Maywood, California, is a severe public health concern.

Addressing this issue through legal action is essential for seeking justice and compensation. If you or a loved one has been affected by EtO exposure, contact TopDog Law today.

Call (323) 922-5650 or use our online contact form to discuss your case and take the first step toward recovery.

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