Añasco, Puerto Rico EtO Exposure Lawsuits
Edwards Lifesciences Sterilization Facility Claims
If you lived or worked near the Edwards Lifesciences sterilization facility in Añasco, Puerto Rico and were diagnosed with blood cancer, breast cancer, or another type of cancer or health condition, you may be entitled to compensation.
Edwards Lifesciences has been identified by the EPA as one of the worst polluters of ethylene oxide (EtO) in the U.S. / U.S. territories. This dangerous chemical is used to sterilize medical devices and has been linked to elevated risks of cancer.
Levy Konigsberg is an award-winning firm with a history of litigating complex toxic exposure claims, including high-profile claims arising from the Flint Water Crisis and asbestos exposure. Now, we’re fighting for victims who were diagnosed with cancer and other illnesses caused by ethylene oxide exposure from sterilization facilities like Edwards Lifesciences.
If you were diagnosed with cancer or another illness after living, working, or attending school near Edwards Lifesciences, we want to help. Call (800) 315-3806 or contact us online for a FREE consultation.
EtO Exposure at the Edwards Lifesciences Facility
Edwards Technology, also called Edwards Lifesciences Technology Sàrl, is a facility located at Parque Industrial Carr. PR-402, Km. 1.4 N, Añasco, PR.
The Edwards facility began sterilizing medical equipment in 1989. Like other commercial sterilizers that treat these products, the Edwards plant uses ethylene oxide (EtO). In 2021, the plant emitted 1,089 pounds of EtO.
EtO is a colorless, odorless gas known to cause cancer. In recent years, growing scientific evidence has revealed that EtO emissions from sterilizing facilities like Edwards Technology pose significant health risks to people in surrounding communities who breathe the polluted air.
Here are some key facts about the dangers of EtO emissions from a 2020 EPA Draft Risk Assessment:
- Airborne EtO is biggest health threat. The EPA found that ethylene oxide is most dangerous to people when it is present in the air and that “inhaling Ethylene Oxide over many decades can cause cancer risks of concern.”
- Elevated cancer risks. According to the EPA, long-term ethylene oxide exposure can cause blood cancers such as non as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, myeloma, and lymphocytic leukemia, and may cause breast cancer.
- Risks to children. Because ethylene oxide is mutagenic, meaning that it can damage DNA, it is believed that infants and children are most susceptible to exposure risks. The EPA has stated that people exposed to EtO as children are more likely to develop cancer later in life.
- Other health conditions. EtO exposure has been associated with other physical and neurological symptoms, including cognitive impairment and memory loss, reproductive harm, impaired coordination, and nerve damage.
Learn more about the dangers of ethylene oxide and EtO lawsuits.
EPA Labels Edwards Lifesciences One of the Worst EtO Polluters
EtO emissions pose significant health risks, but people in some communities face higher risks due to their proximity to facilities known to be among the worst polluters.
To evaluate these community health risks, the EPA conducted risk assessments of the roughly 100 commercial sterilizers currently operating in the U.S. and U.S. territories. The findings of these assessments, including a risk assessment of Edwards Lifesciences, were shocking:
- The Edwards Lifesciences facility in Añasco, Puerto Rico was identified as one of 23 commercial sterilizers that pose elevated cancer risks due to high levels of EtO emissions and with having the second highest cancer risk levels of EtO emissions of all facilities.
- Workers at the sterilization plant, as well as children and infants, may face elevated cancer and health risks due to their exposure and susceptibility.
- A map of the EPA’s estimates of lifetime cancer risks from EtO near the Añasco plant shows that there is an estimated 5,000 in a million or greater cancer risk from breathing air near the facility, which means that if 1 million people were exposed to this level of EtO for a period of years, 5,000 people would be expected to develop cancer from the exposure.
The EPA has held several community meetings to provide information to residents of Añasco, and has disseminated fact sheets in both English and Spanish. The agency also noted that it is working with Puerto Rico’s Department of Natural Environmental Resources on efforts to reduce emissions from the Añasco plant.
Do I Have a Case?
In light of the latest research, people across the U.S. and U.S. territories have begun filing civil lawsuits against commercial sterilizers responsible for releasing harmful levels of EtO into their communities. In one bellwether case resolved in September 2022, an Illinois woman was awarded $363 million in damages after she was diagnosed with breast cancer caused by her long-term exposure to EtO emissions from a commercial sterilizer near her home.
At Levy Konigsberg, our award-winning lawyers are available to evaluate your case and whether you may have a potential lawsuit. We’d like to speak with you if you:
- Lived, worked, or attended school near the Edwards Lifesciences facility or the surrounding areas of Añasco; and
- Were diagnosed with cancer or another health condition.
Our firm is also reviewing cases from families with loved ones who died from cancer or other conditions that may be linked to their exposure to EtO from Edwards Lifesciences.
Call For a FREE Consultation: (800) 315-3806
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Our team represents victims across U.S. and Puerto Rico. Contact us to request a FREE consultation.
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