SANDY, Utah (ABC4) – Sandy residents received notice of a potential long-term cancer-causing chemical being emitted by the BD Medical facility in the area.
Lifelong resident of Sandy Rachelle Langford said she opened up the letter Wednesday because she needed to use an envelope.
She said she was shocked when she actually read the message inside.
“It was a one in ten thousand chance I open this envelope; those are the odds of me getting cancer,” Langford said.
The EPA released a study saying BD Medical, a medical equipment cleaning facility that’s been in the area since 2007, releases a potentially harmful amount of ethylene oxide (EtO) over one’s lifetime.
“We estimate EtO could lead to an increase of cancer cases if people were exposed at those levels for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 70 years,” Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region Eight air toxics coordinator Kerry Hicks said.
Langford said even with the relatively low risk, she’s concerned that she just learned about it now.
“They’ve been there a long time for this just to come out now,” Langford said. She’s also concerned that she received the notice with a blank envelope.
“It’s very concerning that it came so generic, literally meant to be thrown in the garbage can. It bothers me,” Langford said.
The EPA said BD Medical consistently reduces controlled emissions under regulations. But as science evolves, they learned these chemicals can be more harmful than they thought. So, the company is voluntarily cutting back, focusing on emissions that aren’t controlled, like windows and doors opening.
“The upgrades to their facility will capture the fugitive emissions and reduce those emissions by 95% — the overall reduction of emissions will be 90%,” Hicks said.
But even still, Langford said she doesn’t like her odds.
“It’ll be me, it will be one in a million. It will be me,” Langford said.
And for those working inside, the EPA sent their findings to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The EPA said they’re working with Utah’s Department of Environmental Quality to get the word out via mail and online, and will be holding a meeting Thursday at 6:30.