Hardyston Council discusses ‘elevated cancer risk’ designation near Cosmed facility

HARDYSTON. Councilmembers wish to alleviate any fears regarding the EPA’s initial assessment.

| 29 Aug 2022 | 11:57

Hardyston Township Manager Carrine Piccolo-Kaufer at the August 24 council meeting explained that the Township was notified by the state government and federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), regarding an environmental concern associated with medical equipment sterilization plant Cosmed Group, location in the North Church Industrial Park, at 19 Park Drive, in Franklin. The company, which has been in operation at that location for 25 years, uses ethylene oxide to sterilize medical devices and the business has been known to release ethylene oxide which can increase the risk of cancer, as previously reported by the Advertiser.

Piccolo-Kaufer went on to explain that the EPA sent out a press release, which was premature; “raising the alarm bells.” The press release said the area around the facility had an “elevated cancer risk.” As noted, the risk is not an immediate threat and it was estimated to affect only a person with constant exposure over a period of at least 70 years.

Piccolo-Kaufer explained that the township has been in contact with the EPA and the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and is working with them in order to obtain more information for the public.

The EPA is working with the state and local partners and will be hosting a virtual public information session in September. The public meeting will possibly be held at the Hardyston Township municipal building. The meeting will be held in person as well as virtually. A Zoom link will be set up for people that prefer to attend virtually.

“It’s important to know that we are working with the EPA to get better information about the business,” said Piccolo-Kaufer. “This was information provided through a recent study that was done and the Cosmed Group is working with the EPA themselves. They are working together to come up with a long-term solution and plan.”

“There has been a lot of confusion and although the EPA wanted to get the information out to the public, it has created a lot of confusion and it brought up fear in the community regarding the perceived risks of the use of ethylene oxide,” said Piccolo-Kaufer.

Piccolo-Kaufer also shared that the area where the building is located is a very small geographic area; it does not encompass all of Hardyston and surrounding towns.

The EPA is in the process of collecting information from Cosmed Group and its recent protocols regarding emissions. The notice of the date, time and location of the public meeting will be announced at a later date.

More information on the designation can be found at the following link: bit.ly/3bRopXz.