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In early September, Sterigenics, an Illinois-based company that sterilizes more than 1 million pieces of medical equipment a day, stopped production in its facility near Smyrna. Under pressure from local communities and politicians, Sterigenics was fast-tracking fixes to reduce the facility’s emissions of ethylene oxide (a carcinogenic chemical compound used during the sterilization process) in an area where residential neighborhoods are only half a mile away. Near Covington, another facility, operated by Becton Dickinson, that uses ethylene oxide to sterilize medical equipment followed suit. Here’s where things stand. How did this come to light? On July 19, WebMD and Georgia...

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