Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Judge blocks disposal of Ebola victim's burned belongings in Louisiana


A hazardous materials worker puts up a plastic sheet before starting to clean the apartment of a hospital worker Sunday. (LM Otero / Associated Press)
By KURTIS LEEcontact the reporter

Judge blocks disposal of Ebola victim's burned belongings in Louisiana

A Louisiana judge temporarily blocked the transport of burned items linked to a Texas Ebola victim who died last week.

District Judge Bob Downing issued the injunction Monday afternoon after state Atty. Gen. Buddy Caldwell requested a temporary order to keep the incinerated items out of Louisiana.

In a statement late Sunday, Caldwell cited reports that "six truckloads" of items from the Texas apartment where Thomas Eric Duncan was staying were set to be dumped at a Louisiana landfill after being burned at a Veolia Environmental Services plant in Port Arthur, Texas. Duncan fell ill with Ebola in Texas and died Wednesday.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that incinerated Ebola-associated waste is no longer infectious.
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"There are too many unknowns at this point, and it is absurd to transport potentially hazardous Ebola waste across state lines," Caldwell said in a statement. "This situation is certainly unprecedented and we want to approach it with the utmost caution. We just can’t afford to take any risks when it comes to this deadly virus.”

Downing said in his ruling that Texas' private contractors handling the waste must apply for applicable permits and provide Louisiana state officials with documentation showing that the waste is not infectious. The Louisiana landfill where the waste was headed was ordered not to accept it.

The order also commanded Veolia Environmental Services to provide a list of other hazardous waste sites it might have contracts with in Texas.