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E-M:/ Henry Ford Hosp. incinerator to close

------------------------------------------------------------------------- Enviro-Mich message from Mary Beth Doyle -------------------------------------------------------------------------

Coalition Claims Victory in Incinerator Shut Down
Groups Remain Cautious, Seek Short Time Line


February, 4, 2000

For more information, contact:
Anna Holden, Sierra Club 313-331-0932
Donele Wilkens, DWEJ, 313-821-1064

Henry Ford Health Systems announced today that it will shut down the incinerator at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. A coalition of community and environmental justice groups congratulates Henry Ford for their decision, but will press for a definitive and expeditious timeline to achieve the shut down. The coalition has been advocating for the shut down of the incinerator for more then two years.

"Clean air is our priority," said Anna Holden, for the Sierra Club Southeast Michigan group. "We congratulate Henry Ford for responding to community health concerns and making the decision to shut down the incinerator."

Wayne County Commissioner Jewel Ware said "I commend Henry Ford Hospital for their efforts to work with the community, however, we still await a phase out plan. It is essential to move quickly to reduce air pollution in the community."

Henry Ford Hospital joins University of Michigan Health Systems and other hospitals around the state who have made the commitment to stop incinerating waste, and switch to safer waste disposal alternatives.

"The community will breathe easier when this incinerator is shut down" said James Williams, member of the Virginia Park District Council and a neighborhood resident.

"We are pleased that they have agreed in principle to shutting down the incinerator, but we are anxious to hear about an early date for the shut down, which we do not yet have," said Charles Simmons, EMU professor and nearby resident.

The coalition has noted that Henry Ford Health Systems no longer incinerates at its suburban hospitals, and is pleased that it will now stop incinerating in Detroit. Alternatives to incineration have been shown to be cost-effective and less polluting. Other major hospitals have made the transition from on-site incineration to alternative technologies in a matter of months. The coalition believes that Henry Ford Hospital will be able to do the same.

"Henry Ford's commitment to shut down the incinerator is a great step towards achieving environmental justice in the city of Detroit," said Donele Wilkins, Executive Director of Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice. "We hope this will serve as an example to other companies in the city, including the commercial medical waste incinerator in Hamtramck."

Coalition members include Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice, Sierra Club Southeast Michigan Chapter, Sierra Club Mackinac Chapter, Ecology Center, NLG/Sugar Law Center, ACCESS, Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition, National Wildlife Federation, and the Virginia Park District Council.


Mary Beth Doyle, MPH
Environmental Health Project
Ecology Center
117 N. Division
Ann Arbor MI 48104

734-663-2400 ext 108
734-663-2414 (fax)

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