(EnviroNews Utah) – Salt Lake City – Concerned neighbors in Foxboro and South Davis County are not satisfied with the proposed move of Stericycle’s medical waste incineration plant a mere 30 miles away to Tooele.
Not only is that still in the Wasatch airshed where Stericycle has been dumping pollutants for about 24 years, but it isn’t far enough away to mitigate its health effects on the people that live on the Wasatch Front.
“The incinerator should be shut down,” said Alicia Connell, co-founder of Communities for Clean Air, at a press conference on Feb. 13, 2014, at the Utah State Capitol Building. “We don’t want to give our problems to someone else.”
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the proposed Tooele move has Governor Gary Herbert’s support, as was demonstrated by his office when his staff facilitated the purchasing of the land required for the move.
Herbert had until recently refused to meet with Connell and her group. After significant public pressure, they now have a meeting set for Feb. 26 according to Connell.
Bradley Angel, executive director of Greenaction, wondered why the governor would help Stericycle poison another community.
“Even if Stericycle operated perfectly,” said Angel, it would still be dumping dangerous chemicals like dioxin and lead into the environment. “The governor needs to step up” and support safer alternatives.
SteriMed is one alternative that is in place at Blue Mountain Hospital in Blanding, Utah. Trent Herring, environment of care director for the hospital, says that they save about $2,500 per month with the system that operates at room temperature and uses a biodegradable disinfectant and shredder to eliminate medical waste.
While Dr. Brian Moench of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment repudiated with facts and other studies the conclusions drawn in the recently released Utah Department of Health report on cancer around the Stericycle incinerator , Connell took exception to the idea that the increased cancer rates were from “lifestyle” issues, and she used the stories of children and a mother from the area who have experienced cancer.
Cami, who has gone through a battle with leukemia twice and has the Kisses for Cami campaign to help pay for medical bills, could not have chosen to live a healthier lifestyle.
Brendan, age 7, is currently in remission. Before he got his cancer, he was a fit and healthy child. Now he is having trouble keeping the weight off due to all of the medications.
When Mom Tiffany was diagnosed with cancer she was fearful about what would happen to her children if she didn’t survive. She says that she thought she was living a healthy lifestyle and didn’t know how she could have been healthier.
Connell recounted several stories of children with asthma and other ailments before demanding a public hearing about Stericycle’s permit from the Department of Air Quality.
Now citizens and members of Communities for Clean Air is waiting to see if the DAQ will comply with their request for a public meeting to discuss the ins and outs of the old waste plant’s highly controversial pollution permit.