ATLANTA – Legislation intended to put some transparency into the discharge of harmful ethylene oxide gained final passage in the General Assembly Wednesday.

The state House of Representatives voted 150-1 to require manufacturers that use ethylene oxide to report any waste spills or gas releases to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) within 24 hours. The director of the EPD then would post the information on its website.

Ethylene oxide is used primarily to sterilize medical equipment, a particularly important function in the era of coronavirus, said Rep. Don Parsons, R-Marietta, chairman of the House Committee on Energy, Utilities & Telecommunications. Parsons presented Senate Bill 426, a bipartisan measure that the Senate passed in March, on the House floor on Wednesday.

State Sen. Brian Strickland, R-McDonough, introduced the legislation last winter after public concerns were raised over unreported releases of the cancer-causing chemical at a Sterigenics plant in Smyrna and a facility in Covington operated by BD Bard.