Tuesday 15 March 2016

Poisoning our Future - Biosolids in our Parks ...

Biosolids are being used in parks, playgrounds, gardens, flower-beds and golf courses – this is a reckless practice, and we need to stop it.

Many cities use their sewer sludge (aka biosolids) as a fertilizer / compost for their green-spaces. This practice should stop immediately as the science does not support this method of dealing with a city’s sewage residuals. Proponents talk of “completing the cycle” of returning the resource “back to the soil.” Well perhaps someone can tell me what soil had flame retardants, superbugs, cancer drugs, prions, nanomaterials, and pharmaceuticals in it? This is NOT recycling folks – this is toxin dispersal masquerading as something “green.”

Why would we subject the most vulnerable members of our society, our children, to the concentrated end-product of our waste water treatment facilities? There are known to be thousands of chemicals/toxins in these residuals. Cities need to get rid of their piles of sludge waste, but spreading it around the city environment is a reckless, short-sighted method of dealing with their toxic burden. Let’s get on the right side of history and move towards gasification / pyrolysis. Let’s give future generations a better inheritance than an environment compromised by our city’s toxins.

New science is showing just how problematic biosolids (sewer sludge) can be. Below are some recent highlights. Ask yourself if you want your children exposed to these issues!!

1. 2016 - Mother Earth News – “Biosolids - More Harm than Good"

Dr. David Lewis writes that, "Sewage sludge is semi-solid organic matter, mostly human feces and animal fats, which settles out at wastewater treatment plants. More than half of the sewage sludges produced in the United States and Canada are biologically and chemically treated, usually by adding lime, to reduce odors and indicator pathogen levels. Once treated, the product is called biosolids. It is repeatedly applied to farms, forests, school playgrounds, public parks and other public and private lands at rates measured in tons per acre....It regulates only 9 of 27 heavy metals found in sewage sludge (As, Cd, Cu, Pb, Hg, Mo, Ni, Se, Zn), and no toxic organic chemicals. Many chemicals found at high (ppm) levels in biosolids are the worst of the worst, which EPA lists as priority pollutants. These are the ones we worry about most. They are highly persistent, biomagnified up the food chain, and known to cause adverse health effects in humans and animals.”

  “Priority pollutants include endocrine disruptors, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, plasticizers and other chemical groups that concentrate in animal fats. As the fat solubility of chemicals increase, so does their neurotoxicity. Not surprisingly, exposures to these chemicals are linked to autism, ALS, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and other neurological diseases and disorders." … "No wonder our children are developing autism at steadily increasing rates; teenagers are starting to get colon cancer; and more elderly people are getting Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders. We must all spread the word, and tell our cities to stop spreading toxic biosolids. Hazardous chemical wastes must be contained and destroyed—not spread all around us. We have the technology, we just need to use it.”

2. 2016 - Duff Hale – “Environmental and health problems from using sewage sludge”

“A 2013 study by the Cornell University Waste Management Institute sampled people exposed to Class B sludge that lived within1 mile of sludged land. The results revealed health-related symptoms were statistically higher among exposed residents. They exhibited excess secretion of tears, abdominal bloating, jaundice, skin ulcers, dehydration, weight loss and general weakness, and also increased occurrence of bronchitis and upper respiratory infection.”

3. LATimes – 2016 – “Deadly superbugs from hospitals get stronger in the sewers”

“ a growing number of studies show sewage plants can't kill the superbugs. Instead the facilities serve as "a luxury hotel" for drug-resistant bacteria, a place where they thrive and grow stronger, said Pedro Alvarez, a professor of environmental engineering at Rice University, one of the scientists studying the problem.....Researchers have tried for years to raise the alarm about hospital sewage. The sludge includes not just waste from patients suffering from drug-resistant infections but also high levels of antibiotics prescribed to treat them.
As the sewage mixes, the antibiotics kill off weaker bacteria, leaving the more lethal ones to thrive. The bugs reproduce rapidly, and different species can swap genes, transferring their ability to withstand the drugs.”

4. Newsweek Magazine, 2016 “Eating Meat Grazed on Human Sewage…”

Richard Lea, a reproductive biologist at the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science at the University of Nottingham and lead author of the study, found that: "There is a concern that by eating the meat from the sheep, we’re taking onboard these chemicals," "Given that these chemicals are very persistent, and they’ve survived the very intensive processing of the sewage to begin with, there’s a very high chance that they’ll end up inside of us” ... “his team did identify certain constituents in the sewage that are known to impair hormone behavior in humans and animals alike.”

And so I ask – Do we really want to continue subjecting our children to these unnecessary dangers?