Stericycle, based in Lake Forest, Ill., has been criticized by anti-abortion groups for years because it disposes of aborted fetuses collected from family planning clinics. Company officials did not return phone calls seeking comment.
Jeff Bickford, environmental services division manager in Marion County, said the facility there has been taking material from British Columbia for five to seven years. He said clinical waste providers such as Stericycle bring in medical waste ranging from syringes and body parts to laboratory cultures and bodily fluids after hospitals and clinics place it into red bags and sealed containers.
"You've got biological agent and infectious diseases in there, so they're never opened once they're sealed," Bickford said.
Brentano said the county plans to rewrite its ordinance to spell out that no tissue from fetuses can enter the incinerator, and the providers will have to develop a workable system.
He stressed that other medical waste would be accepted.
"So if someone loses an arm, loses a finger?" Carlson asked at the meeting.
"That should go in and be burned," Brentano replied. "As gross as that is."