Misunderstanding EPA Screening Threshold
EtO is Everywhere
U.S. EPA’s preliminary study of normal, background levels of EtO in communities around the country that don’t have industrial sources of EtO are 10X to 20X higher than their screening threshold. In addition, many everyday activities, even breathing would produce EtO levels well above the screening threshold.
EPA Takes Action
Recognizing the issue with the screening threshold, the EPA initiated a study to determine whether EtO is more broadly found in ambient air than previously understood (2018-2019). Air monitoring readings were taken by EPA in 18 sites across nine states, with broad ranging populations and climates – rural and urban.
EPA found the average presence of EtO in ambient air ranged from 0.2 to 0.4 micrograms of EtO per cubic meter of air (µg/m3)1.
Average concentrations of EtO in Covington’s ambient air were 0.290 µg/m3, according to the combined results of data collected by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) and a third-party engineering company as required by EPD.
Air monitoring confirmed average concentrations of EtO in Covington’s ambient air samples are within the range of what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s nationwide study found to be typical.
Average Background Levels of EtO Across the United States
Green: The Covington, Ga. average is the average of both EPD monitoring data from areas near BD’s sterilization facility and data from a third-party engineering company performing air monitoring around BD’s GDC in Covington, as required by EPD.