Homeowners living near a medical sterilizer in Cobb County have filed a lawsuit against the company that runs it, Sterigenics, in what their attorney described as the first of many such cases.

The lawsuit filed by Bridget and Andrew Kurt seeks damages for lost property value due to emissions of ethylene oxide, a toxic gas the company is legally authorized to use for the sterilization of medical equipment.

The plant’s emissions became the subject of public scrutiny and outrage last year in the wake of a federal report that flagged the area for increased cancer risk.

Since then, the sterilizer has closed and reopened amidst a swirl of legal complications, including two lawsuits filed by Sterigenics against Cobb County officials and tax assessors, who recently devalued over 5,000 residential properties in the area citing environmental “issues.”

Eric Hertz, the lead attorney on the Kurts’ case, said their claim is based on market value, not the lowered tax assessment.

Source: AJC