LA. Attorney general wins court order blocking ebola victim's apartment waste

LA. Attorney general wins court order blocking ebola victim's apartment waste

Louisiana attorney general Buddy Caldwell on Monday (Oct. 13) successfully blocked a shipment of burned materials from being dumped in the state

Those materials were taken from the apartment of a Dallas Ebola victim, and now state health officials are scrambling to establish new protocols.

A Baton Rouge judge signed a temporary restraining order, blocking a shipment of burned materials, taken from a Texas Ebola victim's apartment, from being dumped, in Louisiana.

"They had to scramble to figure out what to do with that," said Jack Butcher, with the company Medical Disposal Systems.

Local medical waste handlers say they are not equipped to handle Ebola-related waste, and are not sure they want to be.

"Just because there was no visible blood, there could have been other infectious materials (like) saliva, or urine, any number of things," said Butcher.

But Butcher agrees with health experts who say the burned waste should have been Ebola free.

"Once it's incinerated it's no longer infectious," said Catherine Lopez, PhD, with LSU Health Science Center.

There are a lot of questions about why the Texas waste was being shipped to Louisiana.

"What we do know is Texas is six or seven times larger than Louisiana and it seems odd that they couldn't find a place in Texas to deal with their own problems," said Assistant Attorney General Trey Phillips.

Monday afternoon, officials with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and state health officials met to consider new possible rules.

"You would think they would want to transport it as little as possible based on what happened," said Butcher.

A spokesman with DEQ says no special permit was needed because the waste wasn't considered hazardous, but our medical waste expert says he is not so sure.

Butcher is among those questioning whether there's been enough federal oversight.

"I'm very surprised the CDC has to be involved with that Ebola waste if it's transported from one state to the other," said Butcher.

And for now, a state judge in baton rouge is blocking the waste from being brought to Louisiana, until the issues, can be more thoroughly examined.

The company Chemical Waste Management out of Lake Charles issued a statement this afternoon, saying it would not accept the Ebola-related waste, until state officials agree that doing so would pose no threat to the public.

However, the company said it is currently permitted to take it.

All sides return to court October 22.

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