Thursday, February 15, 2007

Shut Down St. John's Waste Incinerator?

Carbon and Iron Oxide (from incinerated blood) Mar Saint John's Incinerator?

Most hospitals have opted out of the medical waste incineration business, but not Springfield, Illinois' Saint John's Hospital.

As of 2004 there were just twelve hospitals in Illinois that incinerated their own medical waste. Some including Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich have called for the closure of the remaining dirty dozen.

This from NoHarm.Org

Prompted by neighborhood activists pushing to close Evanston Hospital's medical-waste incinerator, Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Monday urged the state's last remaining hospital-trash burners to shut down.

Most hospitals got out of the business of burning waste years ago after concerns about cancer-causing dioxins from incinerators led the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to require a dramatic reduction in air pollution from trash burners.

But Illinois still has 12 such incinerators, five of which are in densely populated neighborhoods of suburban Chicago. Nearly 28,000 people live within a half-mile of one of the state's medical-waste burners, according to a Tribune analysis.

"Hospitals are supposed to provide health care, and hospitals are supposed to promote health care," Blagojevich said at a news conference a few hours before the Evanston City Council passed an ordinance that bans medical-waste incineration within city limits. "Hospitals are supposed to not undermine public health."

State records obtained by the Tribune show that most of the state's remaining waste burners have been in trouble at some point in recent years for putting too much pollution into the air.

Saint John's Hospital continues to rely upon its medical waste incinerator even though studies show that such incinerators release toxic chemicals like dioxins, and toxic heavy metals such as cadmium into nearby neighborhoods. Easterly winds usually carry Saint John's airborne waste stream over, and onto Springfield's, Illinois poorest neighborhoods.

While regular maintenance may remove condensed carbon, and iron oxide deposits from the smoke stack itself there is no way to remove elevated levels of toxic chemicals from east side, and downtown resident's lungs.

Time To Shut Down St. John's Hospital Waste Incinerator?

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