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Sunday, June 16, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

AG Wants to Block Ebola|Ashes from Louisiana

NEW ORLEANS (CN) - Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell sought a restraining order to stop ashes from Dallas Ebola victim Thomas Duncan's belongings to be dumped at a Louisiana landfill.

The "many unknowns" associated with the disease makes transport to Louisiana absurd, Caldwell said.

A reported six truckloads of material collected from the apartment where Dallas Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan became ill were brought to Port Arthur, Texas on Friday to be incinerated by Veolia Environmental Services. After incineration, the material was to be transported to a Louisiana hazardous waste landfill for final disposal. Caldwell announced late Sunday that he would seek a restraining order to block the material from crossing the state line.

Duncan died Wednesday. On Sunday, Texas health officials announced that a health care worker who cared for Duncan had tested positive for Ebola.

Bleach, soap, sunlight and high temperatures will kill the Ebola virus, according to the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention, so incineration should do the trick. Still, Caldwell said "there are too many unknowns" surrounding the deadly virus.

"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. 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," Caldwell said in a statement sent Sunday.

Caldwell said the attorney general's office is in the process of finalizing its application for temporary restraining order to be filed as early as Monday. The office also said it is sending a demand letter to Texas state and federal officials, along with private contractors involved, seeking information into the handling of their waste.

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