Tuesday, July 2, 2013, North Salt Lake City, Utah: Communities for Clean Air & Greenaction joined together in a protest against the Stericycle medical waste incinerator that pollutes the air and violates the law! See the press release below.
Communities for Clean Air * Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice
For immediate release
Contact Natasha Hincks, Resident 801-663-1731 — Bradley Angel, Greenaction 415-722-5270
North Salt Lake City Residents to Protest Pollution and Violations at Stericycle
Medical Waste Incinerator, Demand Closure of Controversial Incinerator Next to their Homes
TUESDAY, JULY 2, 2013 – 5:30 PM in front of Stericycle Incinerator 90 North 1100 West
North Salt Lake City, Utah – North Salt Lake City residents living next to the problem-plagued Stericycle medical waste incinerator and concerned about the health of their families will protest at the facility on Tuesday, July 2, 2013 at 5:30 pm to demand its closure. Residents will be joined by Utah Physicians for Clean Air, Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice, and HEAL Utah. The incinerator is located at 90 North 1100 West, North Salt Lake City.
Residents of the Foxboro neighborhood are furious after learning that the incinerator emits hazardous pollutants into their air and has been having operational problems and violations. Most residents were never informed about the toxic pollution or true nature of the facility when they bought their homes. Many residents are first time home buyers, and many have young children and babies who are especially at risk from toxic pollutants. On April 5th, residents observed and filmed black smoke and flames coming out of the incinerator’s bypass stack, emitting toxic chemicals and particulates directly into the air without even going through the pollution control equipment.
Residents are alarmed to learn that the incinerator emitted illegal and excessive levels of highly toxic pollutants. On May 28, the Utah Division of Air Quality took enforcement action against Stericycle. The DAQ issued a Notice of Violation charging the company with emitting illegal levels of hazardous air pollutants including dioxin and furans, hydrochloric acid and Nitrogen Oxides. The many violations also included failure to operate the incinerator in a manner to minimize emissions, and submitting monitoring reports to the state DAQ that omitted the stack test results showing the excess emissions. Dioxin is one of the most toxic chemicals known to science, is highly toxic in minute levels of exposure, bioaccumulates in the body, and has been linked to cancer, reproductive, hormonal and development illnesses.
Residents are concerned that the incinerator continues operating despite the serious violations and despite being located literally feet from homes where children live, play and go to school. Residents are also concerned that the state was aware of the excessive emissions of highly toxic chemicals for five months before taking action. USEPA Region VIII has improperly ignored an appeal of Stericycle’s permit filed by Greenaction and local residents in 2009.
Stericycle’s incinerator is the last similar facility in the west. Their incinerator on the Gila River Indian Community in Arizona was closed after protests in 2002, and a similar incinerator in Oakland, California was closed in 2001 after residents, health care workers and a major hospital opposed its operation.
“There should not be an incinerator in a residential neighborhood,” said Natasha Hincks, a mother and neighbor to the incinerator. “Our kids should not have to be breathing in dioxin, mercury and other toxins when they are playing in their own yards. The incinerator needs to be shut down!”
“We call on the government to shut this out-of-control incinerator and protect the health of kids instead of protecting this polluter,” said Bradley Angel, Executive Director of Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice. “Medical waste can be sterilized instead of burned, and that would protect residents, workers and the air we all breathe.”
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