Caroline Snyder | Indy Week

Caroline Snyder 
Member since May 24, 2013



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Re: “Parents and environmental activists concerned about sewage sludge fields near schools

Urban biosolids contain industrial pollutants removed from sewage. Thousands. Most that did not even exist before 1950. Some highly toxic and persistent and magnified in the food chain. After a one-time notification, every industry, every entity connected to a sewer can legally discharge any amount of acute hazardous waste into sewage treatment plants. Here these, together with other pollutants, including pathogens, are removed from the sewage and end up in the resulting biosolids. No wonder hundreds of sludge-exposed residents have reported serious, chronic, and life threatening health symptoms. Some have died. Hundreds of cattle sickened and died after ingesting forage grown on land that had repeatedly been treated with toxics-containing biosolids. Wells are impacted. Soil permanently poisoned.

Fifteen years ago internationally renowned soil scientists at the Cornell Waste Management Institute warned that the US regulations that govern the use of biosolids do not protect human health, agriculture, or the environment. At the same time, research microbiologist, David Lewis, then a high ranking scientist at EPA, began to publish ground breaking research linking sludge-exposure to serious life threatening illnesses, including several deaths. Yet despite these warnings and increasing data that land application is not safe, EPA and state agencies are not tightening the current rules.

Absent any credible science, those promoting biosolids rely on the totally bizarre perspective of a few researchers, who-- either for personal or financial reasons-- claim that treated sewage sludge is a completely safe, organic, natural, and nutrient rich fertilizer that improves the health of plants and soil. On the contrary, biosolids is probably the most pollutant-rich material created in the 21st century. A 2008 Nature editorial calls the US biosolids program “an institutional failure spanning more than three decades.”
Yet a network of powerful "gatekeepers, " top managers from USDA, EPA, together with regional lobbying groups, such as the North East Biosolids and Residuals Association, and the biosolids industry, ignore or discredit data that does not support their agenda and harass those scientists who work to protect human health, agriculture, and the environment.
For documentation , visit

4 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Caroline Snyder on 05/24/2013 at 8:38 PM

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