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Blagojevich Wants Ban on Medical Incenerators

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Blagojevich

By AP/KWMU

Springfield, Ill – Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich says he will try to ban medical-waste incinerators if Illinois hospitals don't shut them down voluntarily.

Hospital incinerators release mercury, dioxins and other harmful substances.

Hospitals have largely stopped burning medical waste because of tighter federal regulations over the past 15 years.

Only about 80 incinerators remain nationwide, but Illinois has eleven of them. Nine of them are still operating, and two have been shut down temporarily because of violations.

Only one operates in the St. Louis area. It's at Memorial Hospital in Belleville.

Blagojevich says the incinerators are a health risk that can be replaced with new methods of waste disposal.

The Democratic governor says if hospitals won't agree, he will ask lawmakers to ban the incinerators when they meet later this fall.

Hospitals say they are an inexpensive way to get rid of waste and generate heat.

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