Louisiana State Attorney General Buddy Caldwell is seeking a temporary restraining order to block the disposal of incinerated waste from the Dallas Ebola victim’s personal items and belongings at a Louisiana landfill.
It has been reported that six truckloads of potential Ebola contaminated material collected from the apartment where Thomas Eric Duncan became ill were brought to Port Arthur, Texas, on Friday to be processed at the Veolia Environmental Services incinerator. From there the incinerated material is slated to be transported to a hazardous waste landfill in Louisiana for final disposal.
Duncan died Wednesday. On Sunday, Texas health officials announced that a health care worker who cared for Duncan tested positive for the deadly virus.
The Ebola epidemic has killed more than 4,000 people in West Africa, the vast majority of them in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. In the U.S., tougher scrutiny for Ebola began Saturday at New York’s Kennedy Airport, where federal Homeland Security officials began screening travelers from those nations, taking their temperature and observing them for other Ebola symptoms.
Caldwell said the unknowns involved surrounding the Ebola virus have the state wanting to proceed with caution.
“We certainly share sadness and compassion for those who have lost their lives and loved ones to this terrible virus, but the health and safety of our Louisiana citizens is our top priority,” he said. “There are too many unknowns at this point, and it is absurd to transport potentially hazardous Ebola waste across state lines.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.”
The Louisiana Attorney General’s Office said it is in the process of finalizing the application for temporary restraining order and expects it to be filed as early as Monday morning. Additionally, the office is sending a demand letter to Texas state and federal officials, along with private contractors involved seeking additional information into the handling of this waste. Caldwell’s office is in contact with Louisiana health and environmental agencies involved in the matter.
Contributing: John Bacon, USA TODAY
SOURCE: WWL-TV, New Orleans