Illinois company fined for improper fetus disposal

February 10, 2012

The Associated Press

Texas environmental officials have fined two women's health clinics and an Illinois waste disposal company they contracted for improperly disposing of fetuses in a landfill.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality ordered fines Wednesday of $22,980 and $17,430 for the Whole Woman's Health clinics in Austin and McAllen, respectively.

Stericycle, an Illinois-based international medical waste disposal company used by both clinics, was fined $42,612.

TCEQ documents indicate the clinics changed waste disposal companies and have been in compliance since May. The clinics' violations lasted three years before officials investigated last year following a complaint.

Texas regulations require the disposal of fetuses in specific ways. Stericycle's first step of "steam disinfection" was allowed, but then regulations require the waste be buried, not dumped in a municipal solid waste landfill.