Attorney General Balderas Files Lawsuit Against Chemical Company for Historical Pollution of Rural New Mexican Communities

For Immediate Release:
December 22, 2020
Contact: Matt Baca — (505) 270-7148

Santa Fe, NM—Attorney General Hector Balderas announced today that his office sued
Sterigenics U.S., LLC and its related companies for knowingly emitting an air pollutant
known as ethylene oxide in excess of permissible limits from its plant in Santa Teresa,
New Mexico. The lawsuit, filed in the Third Judicial District Court in Las Cruces, alleges
that since 1989, as part of the sterilization process in the plant, the companies have
emitted, and may still be emitting, high amounts of ethylene oxide, thereby damaging the
environment and potentially putting New Mexicans at risk.
“Industrial companies must follow the law and maintain the highest safety standards for
all communities; and it is not fair to exploit poor communities of color when they deserve
protection with their health and safety,” said Attorney General Balderas. “My office will
always fight to hold companies accountable for jeopardizing the health and safety of all
New Mexicans, especially those most vulnerable communities.”
According to the lawsuit, the companies’ misconduct created a public nuisance to New
Mexicans in Santa Teresa and surrounding areas for which the companies are liable to
the State. The lawsuit demands that the companies modify their sterilization process and
seeks damages and penalties.
A copy of the complaint is attached.