Safer Alternatives to Burning Medical Waste: Illinois

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency will work with 11 hospitals to find safer alternatives to burning medical waste in incinerators, officials said.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich Monday called on all 11 institutions to voluntarily shut down their medical waste incinerators. He will seek legislation in the fall veto session to ban hospital incinerators.

Grassroots protests were held this summer to demand to closure of a medical waste incinerator at Evanston Hospital in Evanston, Ill. Environmentalists say burning medical waste emits mercury and dioxins linked to cancer, birth defects and other health problems.

"Now that new technology and scientific knowledge provide alternatives to burning medical waste, we're got to find better ways to dispose of the waste from our hospitals," Blagojevich said.

"The state stands ready to offer help and guidance to hospitals that voluntarily shut down their incinerators and transition to the cleaner and safer disposal options that are now available."

Source: United Press International

The health effects of waste incinerators

J Nutritional & Env Med, June 2005

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