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Hice’s office working with EPA
Hice and Johnston
U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, left, R-Ga., speaks with Covington Mayor Ronnie Johnston during a luncheon at Oxford College of Emory University on Friday, March 2, 2018. - photo by David Clemons

COVINGTON, Ga. — One of Newton County’s representatives in Congress said he’s asking federal regulators for answers after a stunning report of a Covington plant releasing cancer-causing chemicals into the air.

WebMD and Georgia Health News first reported increased rates of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer linked to ethylene oxide exposure, recently have been higher in the 30014 (Covington) ZIP code compared to the state average.

The Medical Division of C.R. Bard Inc. has for years operated a medical device sterilizing plant on Lochridge Boulevard in Covington. The company recently became part of New Jersey-based Becton, Dickinson and Co.

Nadgey Louis-Charles, spokeswoman for Rep. Jody Hice, said the congressman is aware of the issue “and his office is committed to getting to the bottom of it.”

Members of Hice’s staff attended a Covington City Council meeting on Monday where officials discussed the cancer scare with citizens.

“He is working actively with state and federal agencies and local stakeholders,” Louis-Charles said of the Greensboro Republican.

“Congressman Hice has expressed deep concern to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and has requested the full resources of the agency to investigate the situation. The safety and well-being of the 10th District of Georgia will always be his utmost responsibility.”

The report claims non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma rates have been rising an average of nearly 7% each year from 2007 to 2016 in the 30014 ZIP code.