Ashes of Ebola Victim’s Belongings No Longer to be Buried in Louisiana
Representatives for the Louisiana landfill announced Monday morning that the plant will no longer be accepting the burned belongings of a Dallas Ebola victim.
The ashes of items taken from the Dallas apartment where a man became ill with the Ebola virus were slated to be taken to a Louisiana hazardous waste landfill for burial. The linen, bedding and carpet taken from the apartment of Thomas Eric Duncan became ill were taken to the Veolia Environmental Services incinerator in Port Arthur, Texas where they were destroyed Friday.
According to Chemical Waste Management Inc., the company has notified Veolia Environmental in Port Arthur, Texas that it has no current plans to accept the ash resulting from the burning of Duncan's belongings.
This has been a cause of concern for many residents. "A lot of the elected officials are getting calls and don't know what to say," says State Representative Joe Deshotel, D-Beaumont. "People have a lot of fear of this disease, a lot of misinformation, and as a result of that elected officials should be able to answer questions just to provide basic information."
Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell announced late Sunday sought a temporary restraining order to prevent the ashes from entering Louisiana, which were scheduled to be transported Monday.
Caldwell called for a restraining order, as well as submitted a “demand letter” requesting additional information from private contractors and state and federal officials about the handling of Ebola-contaminated ashes.
“The health and safety of our Louisiana citizens is our top priority,” Caldwell said in a statement. “There are too many unknowns at this point, and it is absurd to transport potentially hazardous Ebola waste across state lines.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that incineration is the proper way to handle this kind of waste and that Ebola-related waste should no longer be infectious if incinerated correctly. According to the Louisiana landfill company, medical and hazardous waste ash is not capable of transmitting infectious disease, including Ebola. It is safe to transport in a solid waste landfill without any impacts on human health or the environment.