Medical Waste Incinerators Targeted

Living on Earth
The World

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, hospitals are leading sources of dioxin and mercury contamination. Most hospitals burn anything contaminated with blood or bodily fluids; and this waste often contains large amounts of plastics made with Poly-vinyl-chloride. When those plastics are burned, they release dioxin, a substance known to cause cancer and suspected of damaging reproductive organs. Hospital equipment containing mercury, a neurotoxin, can sometimes end up in the waste stream, too. Now, a coalition of environmental groups is calling on hospitals to phase out the incineration of medical waste. Living On Earth’s Liz Lempert reports.

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