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Belleville Hospital Will Not Shut Down Incinerator

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(hospital photo)
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Memorial Hospital in Belleville

By Tom Weber, KWMU

St. Louis – Officials at Memorial Hospital in Belleville say they have no plans to shut down their incinerator at this time.

Memorial is one of 11 hospitals in Illinois with incinerators.

Governor Rod Blagojevich Monday called on them to stop burning medical waste on-site.

He says the burning releases harmful dioxins and mercury.

But Memorial spokesperson Anne Thomure disputes that.

"Probably your backyard barbecue emits more toxins into the air than our incinerator [does]," Thomure said. "Or, we're getting into leaf-burning time of year when people are allowed to burn leaves. That is more harmful to the environment that is what's coming out of an incinerator that complies with all the requirements."

Thomure adds the incinerator at Memorial was upgraded a few years ago and follows pollution laws.

The governor says he'll push for a ban on incinerators if the hospitals don't stop on their own.

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