Suwannee Democrat

Letters to the Editor

October 24, 2013

Letter to the editor - Ronald Saff

Live Oak — Dear editor,

A medical waste incinerator proposed for Suwannee County would harm the health of nearby residents and is opposed by a medical group, Physicians For Social Responsibility, FL Chapter. Its parent organization is a Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Waste incinerators are serious public health hazards. The toxic heavy metals that will belch from the smokestack will not degrade, cannot be destroyed and will accumulate in the bodies of everyone for miles around. The poisons released have been implicated in a range of problems in children including delinquency, ADHD and autism and in adults- dementia, depression and Parkinson’s disease. The Florida Medical Association,  recognizing the huge health harms of incinerators, urged that their approval and construction be minimized.

A study by the National Research Council concluded that it was not only the health or workers and local populations that are affected by incinerators; it stated that “persistent air pollutants, such as dioxins, furans and mercury can be dispersed over large regions – well beyond local areas and even the counties from which the sources emanate".  Incinerators do not eliminate hazardous substances but they do the opposite; they concentrate them, redistribute them and even create new ones such as dioxin. In addition to dioxin, one of the most carcinogenic compounds know to mankind, they emit arsenic, lead and benzene. Dioxin will spew miles for miles from the smoke stack, and  will eventually be swallowed by local residents who eat vegetables from their gardens.

I have just scratched the surface on the health risks, there are many more. The dangers of this proposed plant cannot be understated. Forty percent of Americans will develop cancer at some point in time in their lives. This percentage is astoundingly high and a medical incinerator would only worsen that risk. Don’t allow a medical waste incinerator company to make you sick while they rake in huge profits, like cigarettes there is no such thing as a safe incinerator. Demand that your public officials say no to the plant.


Ronald Saff, M.D.


Physicians for Social Responsibility, Florida Chapter



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