Open house to discuss concerns over industrial plant

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It was an overflow crowd at the Cobb County Civic Center Monday night at a meeting concerning potentially cancer-causing emissions from an industrial plant.

It was an informational meeting with various state and federal experts on hand to address concerns via a moderator who was conveying questions from the concerned audience.

One of the first speakers was Leonard Robinson with the group Sustainable Smyrna.

"This is a government of the people by the people and for the people and we're the people," Robinson told the appreciative crowd.

People in the crowd came from Smyrna, Atlanta, Cobb County, and other places, most against the release of EtO, ethylene Oxide from the Sterigenics plant in Smyrna.

Dr. Ken Mitchell with the EPA, said the EtO levels in residential areas near Sterigenics are within federal safety levels but slightly above nearer the plant.

He told FOX 5 News 30 Summa canisters, air testing devices, that look like a small propane tank, will be placed around a three mile or so circumstance around the plant to be checked every day for two weeks.

"We will be able to look at the Information that those canisters provide and use it as part of the overall understanding of what people may be doing exposed to," said Dr. Mitchell.

The canisters are part of a $133,000 independent test for the cities of Atlanta and Smyrna.

Cobb County Commissioner Bob Ott, whose district the plant resides in, said Sterigenics has agreed to reduce its yearly EtO emissions substantially.

"From three thousand pounds in 2016 to 200 and some odd pounds today down to ultimately forty pounds with the newest stuff they are proposing," said Commissioner Ott.

The gathering was an Informational session with questions asked by a moderator which included why it took so long to inform the public about EtO and how a Sterigenics plant closed in Illinois by could affect Georgia.

After the meeting some Georgia lawmakers called on Governor Brian Kemp to take action on EtO's.

One of them was Jen Jordan of District Six.

"I sent a copy of the complaint that the Illinois Attorney General filed to shut Sterigenics down, it's like if you don't know what to do here it is right," said Jordan.

MORE: Cobb County commissioners approve air testing near industrial plant