The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identified the Midwest Sterilization Corporation facility in Laredo, Texas, as contributing to an increased lifetime cancer risk from ethylene oxide (EtO) exposure in 2022. Since then, cancer patients and their families have looked for ways to hold the facility legally and financially accountable.
An EtO lawsuit may be the recourse you’re looking for. Through this legal action, you can recover compensation for all of the damages you have suffered as a result of developing cancer.
Research has shown that the city of Laredo, TX, is home to areas in which the lifetime likelihood of developing cancer is higher than average
The cause of this elevated cancer risk, the EPA reported in 2022, is toxic exposure to ethylene oxide gas from the Midwest Sterilization Corporation facility located at 12010 General Milton, Laredo, TX.
In fact, the EPA named the Midwest Sterilization Corporation facility in Laredo, Texas, as one of the 23 commercial sterilizers in America with the most concerning increases in lifetime cancer risk.
In the community surrounding the Midwest Sterilization Corporation facility, the EPA reported in 2022, the lifetime risk of developing cancer amounted to or exceeded 100 in one million. The neighborhoods in the closest proximity to the commercial sterilization plant include residential homes and a public elementary school, investigative news organization DeSmog reported.
Having been in operation since 2005, this ethylene oxide sterilization facility, in the words of The Texas Tribune (in December 2021), “spews cancer-causing pollution on schoolchildren.”
The Midwest Sterilization Corporation is one of the largest privately owned contract ethylene oxide sterilization facilities nationwide, the EPA reported. In addition to the Laredo facility, the corporation operates another sterilization facility in Jackson, MO.
The ethylene oxide sterilization facilities at the Laredo Midwest Sterilization Corporation plant encompass 24 pre-conditioning rooms, 10 sterilization chambers, and 40 aeration rooms, the EPA reported. In an effort to control EtO emissions—and keep the control efficiency rate to 99.63% or more—each sterilization chamber is vented to a wet acid scrubber and, the EPA reported, routed to a Chamber Exhaust Vent Control System. To manage EtO emissions in the aeration rooms, the Midwest Sterilization Corporation routes this ethylene oxide gas to Safe Cell Systems designed to decrease EtO concentration.
In spite of this technology, the EPA still identified the Laredo, TX, ethylene oxide gas sterilizer as a facility where the surrounding community has reported an elevated cancer risk attributable to ethylene oxide exposure.
Hundreds of lawsuits are now moving forward against commercial sterilizers and other companies that use ethylene oxide over injuries arising out of toxic exposure to EtO. To have the grounds for an ethylene oxide lawsuit claim, you need to meet the following criteria.
Most EtO lawsuits are being filed by:
Generally, the closer you lived (or worked) to the facility and the longer amount of time you spent there, the greater the impact ethylene oxide exposure has on your lifetime risk of developing cancer.
According to the EPA, children are thought to be more susceptible to the cancer-causing effects of ethylene oxide.
To move forward with ethylene oxide lawsuits, members of the Laredo, TX, community must have been diagnosed with cancer. Scientific research has established links between EtO exposure and several forms of cancer, the EPA reported.
If you believe you meet the criteria to move forward with a claim against the Midwest Sterilization Corporation in Laredo, Texas, our EtO lawsuit attorneys can help at no upfront cost.
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Ethylene oxide is a gas composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Because EtO is colorless and typically odorless, it’s possible to breathe in the carcinogenic gas without even knowing it.
Despite the known risks of long-term inhalation of EtO, ethylene oxide usage is still common.
Ethylene oxide is used in the sterilization of medical equipment as well as spices and cosmetics. The Laredo, TX, Midwest Sterilization Corporation facility applies the ethylene oxide sterilization process to medical equipment and supplies.
Other ethylene oxide uses pertain to chemical manufacturing. Some of the products which EtO is used to manufacture, according to the EPA, include:
The trade association American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers referred to ethylene as the “World’s Most Important Chemical” in 2017. The Texas Tribune called ethylene oxide “one of the world’s most widely used chemicals.”
The injuries that have propelled the ongoing ethylene oxide injury lawsuits are forms of cancer that, researchers have concluded, are associated with exposure to EtO.
The EPA recognizes ethylene oxide—and more specifically, the inhalation of EtO—as “carcinogenic to humans.”
EtO exposure affects a person’s lifetime cancer risk. Exposure to dangerous concentrations of ethylene oxide gas in polluted air over the years—using the benchmark of exposure “24 hours a day for 70 years”—can lead to a lifetime cancer risk exceeding 100 in one million, the EPA reported.
This doesn’t mean that only people who have been exposed to ethylene oxide in the Laredo, TX, community 24 hours a day for 70 years may pursue a claim. Adults much younger than that, and even children, have been diagnosed with cancer thought to be linked to EtO exposure in the nearly two dozen communities nationwide where the EPA has identified an increased lifetime cancer risk.
How much exposure to ethylene oxide is dangerous? While acute symptoms like eye and upper respiratory tract irritation can result from higher levels of EtO exposure, long-term exposure to lower levels of ethylene oxide may increase your lifetime cancer risk. A 2016 review by the EPA determined EtO exposure to be “60 times more toxic than the previous estimate,” as reported in The Washington Post in April 2023.
Ethylene oxide typically kills microbes that contaminate medical devices by damaging their DNA. Unfortunately, the mechanism by which EtO sterilizes equipment and products can produce similarly harmful ethylene oxide effects on humans.
“The ability of ethylene oxide to damage DNA makes it an effective sterilizing agent but also accounts for its cancer-causing activity,” the National Cancer Institute reported.
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The mutagenic, or DNA-damaging, effects of long-term exposure to EtO have been associated with the following types of cancer, according to the EPA:
Learn more about the link between cancer diagnoses and ethylene oxide exposure.
Cancer can derail lives and devastate families. If toxic exposure to EtO is thought to be the cause of your illness, you may be entitled to financial compensation.
Through an ethylene oxide cancer lawsuit, you can seek compensation for several different kinds of harms and losses, including:
To get the full amount of money damages you deserve, you’re going to need professional legal representation by experienced EtO injury attorneys. Your lawyer for a Laredo, TX, ethylene oxide lawsuit will handle every aspect of the legal process for you.
If the only thing holding you back from hiring a lawyer for an ethylene oxide cancer lawsuit is the cost of legal representation, you need to know that no-win, no-fee legal help is available. The experienced attorneys at Console & Associates, P.C. represent all of our clients at no upfront cost.
We’ll review your case for free, advance all costs of investigating your claim and securing expert witness opinions, and navigate the legal process for you. We’ll file all legal documents and represent you in all legal proceedings—and you will only ever have to pay attorneys’ fees for our services after we have successfully gotten compensation for you.