BLUE RIDGE ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE LEAGUE
PO Box 88 ~
Glendale Springs, North Carolina 28629 ~ Phone
(336) 982-2691 ~ Fax (336) 982-2954 ~ Email:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 9, 2010
Louis Zeller (336) 977-0852
Catherine Mitchell (704) 545-4817
Carrie Gerspach (704) 844-8559
GROUPS CALL FOR BMWNC SHUT-DOWN
New Pollution Study Identifies Harm
Today at a press conference in Matthews, the Blue Ridge
Environmental Defense League and Citizens for a Healthy
Environment released an air pollution study which concludes that
the BMWNC medical waste incinerator is too dangerous to operate.
The groups called for a shut-down of the incinerator.
The new report, authored by the Leagues Science Director,
Lou Zeller, demonstrates dangerous levels of air toxins well
beyond the property boundary. Specifically, the report shows that
hydrogen chloride, cadmium, and mercury all exceed NC
health-based standards 328 feet from the plant. Dioxin exceeds NC
standards 656 feet from the plant. Arsenic emissions exceed
standards a half-mile from the plant. And chromium exceeds NC
standards over six miles from the plant.
Zeller used a US Environmental Protection Agency computer
program, the worst-case scenario air pollution model. Zeller
said, The fact is that dioxin emissions really call for a
worst-case assessment. He added, The EPA and the
Harvard School of Public Health identified dioxin levels near a
waste incinerator as much as ten times greater than predicted by
standard modeling. Dioxin is a known human carcinogen; it
threatens human health even at extremely low levels.
Catherine Mitchell, a Matthews resident who heads CHE, said,
Partial solutions wont work. This incinerator needs
to be shut down immediately to prevent further, dangerous
exposure risks to our neighborhoods.
Carrie Gerspach, co-chair of CHE, outlined the groups next
steps. She said, Citizens for a Healthy Environment is
anxious to begin our door-to-door cancer count starting with the
three neighborhoods surrounding BMWNC in which residents have
complained of high levels of cancer. She added, We
will also be conducting our own air and soil testing using
EPA-approved labs and methods. We believe that these tests will
allow us to accurately document what is truly being released from
the medical waste incinerator.
Zeller summed up the Leagues position on medical waste
incineration. He said, First, do no harm is the
central law of medical ethics. Since the days of Hippocrates,
this has been the foundation of medical treatment and diagnosis.
Nothing in the realm of law, politics or commerce can or should
have greater importance.
In 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued new
rules for medical waste incinerators, including new requirements
for lower emissions, better waste management, and the removal of
exemptions for emissions during startup, shutdown and
malfunctions. In April 2010, the Mecklenburg County Board of
Commissioners adopted a pair of resolutions which directed the
county to move forward with implementation of the EPAs rule
no later than October 2012, and requested that the states
Environmental Management Commission follow suit.
More info: BREDL BMWNC Air Modeling Report