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Dear GreenYesers,

As I am sure you know, medical waste incineration is a significant source of
toxic pollution, including dioxin and mercury. Medical waste incineration is
being replaced the world over with safer technologies. (See
<> and <> for details). In the US, for example, there were
over 6,000 medical waste incinerators at the beginning of the 1990's, and
only 111 remain today. Yet, some people continue to promote medical waste
incinerators in developing countries.

Surprisingly UNICEF is currently promoting medical waste incinerators around
the world. This is especially ironic since UNICEF is dedicated to protecting
children's health and, at the same time, children are especially vulnerable
to the pollutants emited from incinerators.

My daughter just brought home her little orange UNICEF trick or treating
box, which made me think that we should take advantage of the tradition of
raising money for UNICEF on halloween to raise the issue with UNICEF.

If you're child is trick-or-treating for UNICEF, or even if not, please
print and sign and mail the letter below to UNICEF to urge them to stop
promoting medical waste incinerators. Feel free to change any parts of the
letter or draft an entirely new one.

If anyone does get a response from UNICEF, please let me know.

Thanks very much everyone!

A concerned parent,
Annie Leonard


October 31, 2004, Halloween

Carol Bellamy, Executive Director
3 United Nations Plaza
New York, New York 10017

Dear Carol Bellamy,

As a parent of children who are collecting money for UNICEF this Halloween,
I commend you for UNICEF's excellent work to protect the health and welfare
of children in developing countries around the world.

However, I am also concerned about UNICEF inadvertently adding to
environmental pollution loads in these same countries.

I understand that UNICEF is actively promoting medical waste incineration in
developing countries.

As I am sure you know, medical waste incineration is a primary source of
extremely serious toxic pollution, including emissions of dioxin and
mercury. Children and women of child-bearing age are especially vulnerable
to these pollutants. There are many proven, safer, cleaner methods for
treating medical waste including autoclaving, microwaving, and even secure
burial. Incineration is increasingly unncessary and obsolete as health care
institutes, national governments and international agencies reject
incineration for safer alternatives.The World Health Organization has
recently called for more alternatives to incineration to safely treat
medical waste without adding to the planet's toxic pollution load. We would
like to see UNICEF follow WHO's lead in finding solutions that don't trade
one health threat for another.

We urge UNICEF to stop promoting medical waste incinerators and, instead,
promote medical waste treatment systems that actually do protect children's
health. Then, our families can be truly proud to be collecting money for
UNICEF next Halloween.


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