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[greenyes] FW: [greenyes] US Incinerator Info. Request

-----Original Message-----
From: Firuzeh Mahmoudi [mailto:firuzeh@no.address]
Sent: Thursday, July 17, 2003 12:57 PM
Cc: greenyes@no.address; julia@no.address; 'Firuzeh Mahmoudi'
Subject: RE: [greenyes] US Incinerator Info. Request

Dear Keith,

My name is Firuzeh Mahmoudi and I work internationally with Health Care
Without Harm. HCWH has a wealth of information on medical waste
management. Please visit for more information on HCWH. 

To address you comments regarding medical waste management, I will make
a few points below.

1) There is absolutely no type of medical waste (infectious waste) that
needs to be incinerated. Many other technologies can treat medical

Autoclaves, for example, have been used in hospitals for decades to
sterilize equipment. This simple, cost-effective, reliable technology
works great for medical waste treatment. Health care professionals are
quite familiar with this technology and autoclaves come in all shapes
and sizes. HCWH has produced a book called Non Incineration Medical
Waste Treatment Technologies written by Dr. Jorge Emmanuel. You can find
an electronic copy of this book at:  
This book discusses the numerous technologies that can be used to treat
medical waste instead of incineration. 

To find out about more basic technologies that can be used in the Third
World or rural areas please refer to HCWH immunization waste paper at:

2) Medical waste management is as much if not more about the systems put
into place than about the technology. For example, approximately 85%
waste produced at health centers is non-infectious waste. Therefore,
segregation is key in medical waste management. Also,
environmentally-minded purchasing (no PVC or mercury, in adequate
quantities, and with least amount of packaging) is also critical. Please
refer to
to learn about key and simple step that can be taken to manage medical
waste. This report, Eleven Recommendations for Improving Health Care
Waste Management by Dr. Glenn McRae, discusses these necessary steps. 

In short, the key points to medical waste management are:
---Medical waste management needs to address systems first and foremost,
then technology.
---Use of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and mercury containing material, and
incineration are the main areas where health care waste treatment
effects the environment and these areas need to be addressed in any
health care management system.
---Sharps management is critical since 90% of infections transmitted
from medical waste are from port of entry created through sharps. 
---Segregation, procurement and cradle to cradle approach are all very

3) Although landfills do have their problems, medical waste is
relatively small in quantity. By recycling what is recyclable,
purchasing only what is necessary and environmentally least harmful, and
requesting for material with minimal packaging, the amount of medical
waste going to landfills can be minimized. There is no problem with
landfilling medical waste if the mentioned criteria are met. Due to its
amount, it is a fairly negligible quantity and problem in landfills
relative to municipal waste. 

4) Finally, I want to point out that numbers speak for themselves. In
the U.S. in 1988, 6200 medical waste incinerators existed. The EPA
inventory shows that in 2003, 115 medical waste incinerators exist in
the U.S. Clearly, in the U.S. (as in the rest of the world) medical
waste incinerators are not a needed technology.  

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments on what I have
discussed above. 

Firuzeh Mahmoudi.
Health Care Without Harm 

I know incinerators are bad, but what are they going to do with
med-waste I
know they have other methods of handling med-waste but some things have
be burnt, if they would just allow they waste landfilled there would be
problem but you cant landfill everthing . Thanks Keith

>From: "Julia Varshavsky" <julia@no.address>
>To: <gaia-members@no.address>
>CC: <greenyes@no.address>
>Subject: [greenyes] US Incinerator Info. Request
>Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2003 12:05:46 -0700
>Dear GAIA members and friends in the United States,
>Since it is much easier to stop incinerators before they start, I am
>a list of all US Incinerators that are in their proposal(or
>construction stages, meaning they are not up and running yet.  I would
>greatly appreciate it if you could email me with any information you
>about possible incinerators in the US.  I am interested in anything
>rumors and discussion to actual site construction.  Please respond to
>at julia@no.address with your information. I will share my findings on
>GAIA list in a few weeks.
>Thank you so much.  I really appreciate your help!
>Julia Varshavsky, GAIA
>(510)524-4000 ext.111
>1442 A.Walnut St.,#20
>Berkeley,CA 94709,USA
>To unsubscribe, e-mail: greenyes-unsubscribe@no.address
>For additional commands, e-mail: greenyes-help@no.address

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