Sunday, 18 February 2018

Sewer Sludge / Biosolids & Plant Uptake of Toxins

Sewer Sludge / Biosolids & Plant Uptake of Toxins



(PPCP'S = pharmaceutical and personal care products)

Our sewers have become the "super-highways" for our cities' toxic wastes. We are now at a point in history where we are potentially exposed to some 80,000 man-made chemicals  (see http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/43517-the-precautionary-principle-asks-how-much-harm-is-avoidable-rather-than-how-much-harm-is-acceptable). Most of these will eventually find their way to our sewer systems. Many of these are endo-disrupters or carcinogenic. Because our waste-water treatment facilities work so very well, these toxins generated in our modern cities are collected and concentrated in the residual sludges. These are then disposed of on our farms, ranches and forests - under the guise of "fertilization." 

Just being exposed to this fast quantity and variety of toxins is dangerous in itself  - cancer specialists more and more are seeing exposure to a multiplicity of low-dose chemicals as a leading cause of our accelerating cancer rates (see- http://www.gettingtoknowcancer.org/taskforce_environment.php). Worrying too, is the ability of plants growing in these compromised soils, to take these dangerous toxins up into their roots, stalks, and leaves. They then are taken up by insects, birds, and animals.



Plant uptake is not just a theoretical possibility; it has been demonstrated in various papers since the 1980s, and there is mounting evidence of the dangers this poses. 


Recent science has proved the potential dangers to be very real -  

"This study demonstrates the ability of plants to uptake PPCPs (pharmaceutical and personal care products) from soils that have been applied with biosolids or irrigated with PPCPs contaminated water. The plant uptake of PPCPs depends on their physicochemical properties (and) interaction with the substrate, and introducing pathways. The potential for PPCPs to enter the plant presents concerns for their phyto-toxicity. Negative effects to plants have been observed for several pharmaceuticals at environmentally relevant concentrations Accumulation of PPCPs through the food chain could also pose potential risks to species consuming plant parts, including humans."
(Uptake of Pharmaceutical and Personal Care Products by Soybean Plants from Soils Applied with Biosolids and Irrigated with Contaminated Water C H E N X I W U , A L I S O N L . S P O N G B E R G , J A S O N D . W I T T E R ,M I N F A N G ,AND K E V I N P . C Z A J K O W S K I Department of Environmental Sciences, and Department of Geography and Planning, University of Toledo, 2010)

A study from 2014 clearly linked land-applied biosolids to the food-chain - 

"Pharmaceuticals have been detected in the soil environment where there is the potential for uptake into crops. This study explored the fate and uptake of pharmaceuticals (carbamazepine, diclofenac, fluoxetine, propranolol, sulfamethazine) and a personal care product (triclosan) in soil–plant systems using radish (Raphanus sativus) and ryegrass (Lolium perenne). Five of the six chemicals were detected in plant tissue.... all pharmaceuticals were still detectable in the pore water at the end of the experiment. The results demonstrate the ability of plant species to accumulate pharmaceuticals from soils with uptake apparently specific to both plant species and chemical."
(Fate and Uptake of Pharmaceuticals in Soil–Plant Systems- Laura J. Carter, Eleanor Harris, Mike Williams, Jim J. Ryan, Rai S. Kookana, and Alistair B. A. Boxall - Environment Department, University of York, U.K.)

The uptake of metals poses a very serious threat, and has been looked at in several studies - 

"Thus application of sewage sludge to agricultural soil may result in elevated concentrations of toxic metals, which may then threaten ground water quality and lead to food chain contamination" (Selivanovskaya and Latypova, 2003; Singh et al., 2004). Evidences for metal percolation have been reported in numerous long-term sludge application experiments (Streck and Richter, 1997). Heavy metal contamination due to sludge application has received much attention due to concerns regarding uptake by plants and contamination of groundwater or surface waters (Cunningham et al., 1975). Heavy metals are often highly persistent in soil, with residence times as long as thousands of years (Alloway, 1990). Metals applied with sewage sludge may be retained in the soil as a result of their adsorption on hydrous oxides, clays, and organic matter; the formation of insoluble salts; or the presence of residual sewage sludge particles (Alloway and Jackson, 1991) Moreover, soil CaCO3 has often been found to increase soil metal retention (Raikhy and Takkar, 1983). Heavy metal accumulation in soils can result in a loss of soil functions leading to concerns about environmental quality protection, maintenance of human health and productivity. Soil pollution can have implications in phytotoxicity at high concentrations and result in the transfer of heavy metals to the human diet from crop uptake or soil ingestion by grazing livestock (Pendias and Pendias, 2001; Nicholson et al., 2003; Pendias and Mukherjee, 2007).

A study (2012) from Scientists at the University of Aberdeen "studying sheep maintained on pastures fertilized with sewage sludge (biosolids) ... found a high incidence of abnormalities in the animals." As the article states, "It is our opinion that all spreading of sewage sludge, humanure and biosolids on agricultural land in the UK should be stopped until it is PROVED to be safe"




Microplastics are the new ticking timebomb, and they are present not only in our oceans but also, because of land disposal of sewer sludge (biosolids), they are of growing concern for the safety of our food crops.

"Some microplastics exhibit properties that might have direct damaging effects on ecosystems. For instance, the surfaces of tiny fragments of plastic may carry disease-causing organisms and act as a vector that transmits diseases in the environment. Microplastics can also interact with soil fauna, affecting their health and soil functions. Earthworms, for example, make their burrows differently when microplastics are present in the soil, affecting the earthworm's fitness and the soil condition."

"Waste water treatment plants receive large amounts of microplastics emitted from households, industry and surface run-off in urban areas. Most of these microplastics accumulate in the sewage sludge...Microplastics are however not currently on the regulatory agenda for the use of sludge in agriculture. The potential consequences for sustainability and food security have not been adequately analyzed."


A recent Study from Ireland (2017) concluded that, "metals, microplastics, and pharmaceutical and personal-care products can enter the food chain when biosolids are applied repeatedly

In Germany, Prof. Rillig and his lab are studying microplastics in soils. As he points out, the "majority of them wind up in wastewater at some point ...That means one pathway into the soil is already certain: It is spread over the fields with sludge and then later worked deep into the soil by agricultural machinery ... What worries him is that microplastics could break down into smaller and smaller fragments over time, forming nanoplastics. ...We know that plants absorb nanoparticles through their roots, and that they can reach as far as the leaves ... That would mean plastic was entering our food chain not only through fish and other seafood, but also through agricultural products" 




The dangers are very real. The sludge industry, and those in academia who support this reckless practice, claim that safety can be guaranteed because the amount of each toxin is so small. However, as a recent article outlines, this approach to "risk assessment" is utterly incapable of making declarations of safety. It is out-dated and faulty. The very limited testing done on contaminants in our sewage residuals relies on the old-fashioned single toxicity methodology. Peter Montague, who has co-authored two books on toxic heavy metals, has outlined the many problems with this approach.  "Risk assessments have no reliable way to evaluate simultaneous exposures to multiple chemicals. Therefore, they create an imaginary world with a single-chemical exposure. In this imaginary world, a chemical exposure can be declared "safe" even though it actually may be quite harmful when combined with other exposures."
(see http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/43517-the-precautionary-principle-asks-how-much-harm-is-avoidable-rather-than-how-much-harm-is-acceptable).
Keep in mind that land-applied municipal sewage sludge (biosolids) is a highly complex and unpredictable mixture of biological and chemical pollutants. Experts suggest that biosolids generated in our large industrialized urban centers is very likely the most pollutant- rich waste mixture of the 21st century. Obviously single-chemical exposure is completely irrelevant here.

There is sufficient evidence that we must apply the Precautionary Principle in order to protect our food supply. Our soils, as much as our air and our rivers, lakes and oceans, need to be protected for future generations. It is time to stop disposing of our sewer wastes on soils meant to sustain us! 

Switzerland has completely banned the use of sewer sludge aka "biosolids" on agricultural soils.
They took this stand because of "the risk of irreversible damage to the soil, the danger to public health and possible negative effects on the quality of the food farmers produce." ... "the precautionary principle has absolute priority in soil protection."
"Soil is a limited, ecologically and economically valuable non-renewable resource. Along with water and air, it is essential for life."
"All human activities affecting the soil must always take into account that it is scarcely possible to generate new soil because soil formation takes a very long time. Soil is an inert medium that takes a long time to respond to exogenous influences, which means that problems are only recognised later and often too late. Soil is the final repository for pollutants, which means that chemical pollution is often irreversible. That is why only structurally intact soil can function properly."
"Precautionary measures must be taken to protect fertile soil - irrespective of its use - from physical, chemical and biological pressures."
"Like water, air, and forests, soil is a common good, which may be used but not destroyed by its owner. Anyone who uses the soil is also responsible for protecting it."
"Chemical soil contamination impairs soil fertility. It leads to defects in plant growth and causes health risks for humans and animals through the consumption of contaminated harvested products, polluted groundwater and direct contact with soil (e.g. by playing children)."
(For more on the Swiss concepts of soil protection see - https://www.bafu.admin.ch/bafu/en/home/topics/soil/info-specialists/soil-protection-measures.html)



Saturday, 17 February 2018

Sewer Sludge / "Biosolids" and Determining Safety

Sewer Sludge / Biosolids and the small matter of Determining Safety ...



Sewer sludge aka biosolids is NOT just human excrement  - it is a concentration of all domestic and industrial pollutants that go down drains and sewers. It has some good stuff in it, which plants can use, but a huge load of thousands of other contaminants.  "Land-applied municipal sewage sludge (biosolids) is a highly complex and unpredictable mixture of biological and chemical pollutants. Biosolids generated in our large industrialized urban centers is very likely the most pollutant- rich waste mixture of the 21st century." (Dr. Caroline Snyder)



The very limited testing done on contaminants in our sewage residuals relies on the old-fashioned single toxicity methodology. A recent article by Peter Montague,  who has co-authored two books on toxic heavy metals, has outlined the many problems with this approach.

Firstly, he notes that,
"Risk assessment is easily manipulated. Two groups of fully qualified risk assessors, given identical data, can reach wildly different estimates of risk. Therefore, numerical risk assessment fails the acid test of science -- reproducible results -- and does not qualify as "science" or "scientific." Risk assessment is a political art that uses some scientific data. As EPA administrator William Ruckelshaus wrote in 1984, "We should remember that risk assessment can be like the captured spy: If you torture it long enough, it will tell you anything you want to know." "

Secondly, he notes that,
" Risk assessments have no reliable way to evaluate simultaneous exposures to multiple chemicals. Therefore, they create an imaginary world with a single-chemical exposure. In this imaginary world, a chemical exposure can be declared "safe" even though it actually may be quite harmful when combined with other exposures."

This is exactly what sludge defenders like Sally Brown and Lynda McCarthy do when they trot out their single toxin extrapolations around exposure and safety. Neither make any mention of the issues around combined exposures - this is simply poor science, and blinkered, biased support for the continuance of toxic sludge disposal on soils meant to sustain us.
This is the method used to support the assurances of safety by both the EPA and the OMRR regulations. It is faulty, simplistic and naïve.

Remember too that in order to qualify as Class A or Class B or Class A "EQ" ... they ONLY TEST for about a dozen metals and pathogens. This is absurd given the thousands of toxins known to be in these residuals. Not only do they not take into account the synergies between these contaminants, but they don't even test separately for things like solvents, PCBs, dioxins, microplastics,  pharmaceuticals, fluoride, flame retardants, radioactive materials, nano-particles, superbugs and prions!!



Please read the article in full - http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/43517-the-precautionary-principle-asks-how-much-harm-is-avoidable-rather-than-how-much-harm-is-acceptable



For more on the toxins found in our Sewer Sludges / "Biosolids" please see - 

Household Chemicals and Drugs Found in Biosolids from Wastewater Treatment Plants https://toxics.usgs.gov/highlights/biosolids.html

Chemicals from Land-Applied Biosolids Persist in Soil https://toxics.usgs.gov/highlights/2014-06-10-biosolids_leach.html




Safety testing, by biosolids scientists, looks merely at single chemical toxicity amounts. This is faulty, simplistic, and outdated. As the scientists taking part in the Halifax Project have shown, it is the exposure to a variety of toxins in low-dose that can cause cancer. (The Halifax Project took place between 2012 and 2015 and it involved more than 350 cancer researchers and physicians from 31 countries …  focused on the carcinogenic potential of low dose exposures to mixtures of chemicals in the environment - see http://www.gettingtoknowcancer.org/taskforce_environment.php) The absurd situation is that we have soil specialists, agronomists etc. determining the safety of something they are utterly unqualified to make such pronouncements about - this is the purview of chemists, doctors/oncologists.

Monday, 1 January 2018

The Green Party of Canada's position on Sewer Sludge aka "Biosolids"




The Green Party of Canada's position on stopping the sewage spreading, in response to a letter to all party leaders before the last federal election:

October 15, 2015


Dear Mr. Poushinsky,

Thank you for your letter regarding the use of sewage as a fertilizer. The Green Party believes that the use of biosolids for agriculture should be banned. We need improved policies to assess the environmental impacts of this practice, and protect the health of rural Canadians.

As I have said, “Human sewage sludge these days contains a lot of heavy metals, can contain pathogens. In other words, biological materials which can be deadly. It also contains a lot of pharmaceutical products.”

We need to improve both national and international regulatory regimes to prevent, reduce, and control the release of toxic substances and nutrients into our environment. There is an urgent need to limit the influx of agricultural wastewater and untreated human sewage into our waters.

The Green Party has been the most vocal opponent of the Harper Conservative changes to environmental regulation, which have gutted the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, the Navigable Waters Protection Act, and the Fisheries Act, among other pieces of legislation.

We will continue to press for restored and improved environmental regulations in Canada to protect the health of our people and our ecosystems.

The Green Party will further support environmental stewardship in agriculture by:
● Protecting and improving the quality of water in our streams, lakes, and aquifers
● Working with provinces to ensure that all livestock waste is safely recycled and that contamination by agricultural runoff
is avoided
● Introducing costshared programs to help farmers protect wildlife habitat areas and marginal lands, and maintain water and soil quality.

Greens share your concern about the buildup of phosphorus in Canadian waters. Algal blooms in bodies like Lake Winnipeg are feeding off sewage and agricultural chemicals. We must recommit to strong water quality regulations, to ensure that our waters are protected from hazardous runoff.

Above all, we must restore public scientific capacity in Canada. Without federal scientific expertise and consistent and reliable monitoring of pollutants, we are flying blind. The Green Party commits to restoring science based policy and ensuring unfettered access to public
science. We will provide $75million annually to add critical science capacity to Environment Canada, Health Canada, Parks Canada, and Fisheries and Oceans.

As we rebuild our federal scientific capacity, we will also strengthen the role of scientific evidence in federal decision making by restoring the position of the National Science Advisor to the Prime Minister and establishing a Parliamentary Science Officer.

To answer your specific questions,

we will agree to allow the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to fulfill its mandate to enforce the Canadian Fertilizer Act and stop the spreading of hazardous municipal sewage sludge biosolids on farmland.

We will agree to have government investigate the probable links between the sewage spreading and health and environmental problems.

We will agree to apply the Precautionary Principle and stop the spreading of municipal sewage sludge on Canada's farmland until full and proper research into the health and environmental consequences is carried out by government.

We will agree to compensate those who have suffered harm from sewage spreading on farmland, and to undertake remedial action to overcome whatever environmental damage it has caused.

The Green Party will lead Canada back to evidence based policy making, will strengthen environmental regulations, and will increase needed monitoring to ensure that Canadians are protected from exposure to hazardous materials.

Thank you again for writing.

Sincerely,

Elizabeth May, OC
Leader of the Green Party of Canada




Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Sludging Farms in Italy

Here is a very recent short documentary video on sewer sludge disposal on Italian agricultural lands. Some very good reporting here, and eye-opening footage of this disgraceful practice (thank you to fellow sludge fighter Aldo Agosta for providing this, and doing the subtitles!! )





Sunday, 19 November 2017

Why we must end the land-disposal of sewer sludge aka “biosolids”





Switzerland has completely banned the use of sewer sludge aka "biosolids" on agricultural soils. They took this stand because of "the risk of irreversible damage to the soil, the danger to public health and possible negative effects on the quality of the food farmers produce" ... "the precautionary principle has absolute priority in soil protection." … "Soil is a limited, ecologically and economically valuable non-renewable resource. Along with water and air, it is essential for life.”  We must stop the sludge industry from calling this toxic goulash a “soil amendment.”  As Dr. Caroline Snyder has noted - "Land-applied municipal sewage sludge (biosolids) is a highly complex and unpredictable mixture of biological and chemical pollutants. Biosolids generated in our large industrialized urban centers is very likely the most pollutant- rich waste mixture of the 21st century."



Safety testing, by biosolids scientists, looks merely at single chemical toxicity amounts. This is faulty, simplistic, and outdated. As the scientists taking part in the Halifax Project have shown, it is the exposure to a variety of toxins in low-dose that can cause cancer. (The Halifax Project took place between 2012 and 2015 and it involved more than 350 cancer researchers and physicians from 31 countries …  focused on the carcinogenic potential of low dose exposures to mixtures of chemicals in the environment - see http://www.gettingtoknowcancer.org/taskforce_environment.php) The absurd situation is that we have soil specialists, agronomists etc. determining the safety of something they are utterly unqualified to make such pronouncements about - this is the purview of chemists, doctors/oncologists.



Ignoring this problem may be a very grave mistake indeed. As Dr. Rayne has noted – “An unimaginably large number of chemical and biological contaminants exist in these materials, and they persist in the product up to, and after, land disposal. Scientific investigations have identified only a tiny fraction of the total contaminant load … You are not going to find a problem if you don't look for it. Of course, over time, that problem may also come looking for you … Governments are playing Russian roulette with sewage sludge. Over time, there is a high probability this game will be lost at the public's expense.” (see http://bit.ly/1sb2qOP )



The sludge industry has co-opted much of the language of sustainability. This however is an unwarranted annexation. Land disposal is not "recycling"; it is simply transferring a complex mixture of toxic chemicals and pathogens from our large industrialized urban centers to farms and forests. The spreading of a city’s toxic burden onto rural areas can’t be seen as “green” in any way. The constant trucking of thousands of tons of sewage waste into the countryside represents a huge CO2 release into our already compromised environment. Imagine the savings if a gasification plant were to be situated directly beside the waste water treatment facilities!




The issue of Prions in Biosolids represents such a grave danger that the precautionary principle must apply. A recent and alarming publication by Valerius Geist, Professor Emeritus, University of Calgary David Clausen, (former) Chair, Wisconsin Natural Resources Board Vince Crichton, (former) Co-Chair, Canada’s National Wildlife Disease Strategy Darrel Rowledge, Director, Alliance for Public Wildlife) made the following observations - "Normal sewage treatments do not degrade or inactivate prions: “most would partition to activated sludge solids, survive mesophilic anaerobic digestion, and be present in treated biosolids."  … “CWD is certainly the most contagious prion infection, with infected animals shedding prions from every orifice." … "CWD has been shown to persist and remain infectious in the environment. CWD prions adhere to minerals such as montmorillonite (Mte) in clay-based soils that can dramatically increase infectivity, up to 680 times" … "Transmission of CWD has been shown to occur: animal to animal, soil to animal, plants to animal, soil to plants to animal" … "This underscores the very essence of the precautionary principle, and nowhere is it more requisite than with respect to infectious pathogens. Inadequate policy or regulatory failures can result in pandemics that kill thousands or even millions of people or other animals, causing enormous damage on economies and ecosystems.”  (http://www.apwildlife.org/publications/)



Superbugs are emerging as a serious threat and they are found in these waste residuals
. Sewage sludge/biosolids contain a  largely unknown number of bacterial and viral pathogenic organisms, protozoan and other parasites as well as prions. What is often never discussed in the pro-sludge and biosolids literature is the fact that ALL sewage treatment plants in the world, including all secondary and tertiary treatment plants breed Superbugs or multi-drug resistant bacteria, (Y. Luo et al, Environmental Sci. Technol. Lett. 2014, 1, 26-30; A. McGlashen, Sci.Am. 2017, 01/18.) The reason is simply the fact that antibiotics end up in sewage and during the treatment process with bacteria, the bacteria that acquire antibiotic resistance will get selected in the presence of antibiotics in the sewage. These and other Superbugs make their way into the sewage treatment plants from the hospitals, homes and industrial facilities and so it makes sense that we should not spread them or plasmids containing the genes for this resistance on the land where they can further contaminate and multiply their resistance genes. (see also "Deadly superbugs from hospitals get stronger in the sewers" http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-superbug-sewers-20160307-story.html )







We have better methods of dealing with our cities’ toxic sewage waste. Gasification / pyrolysis is by far the best, cleanest option to date. As Yale professor Jordan Peccia has noted, gasification “can destroy pathogens and mineralize persistent organic chemical contaminants, while producing energy and concentrating valuable metals and inorganic chemicals.” These units have been up and running for well over a decade in Austria, Italy, Germany, Thailand, Korea, Sweden, and the USA.


Rarely has there been a less regulated toxic substance. Every aspect of the process, from site selection to application procedures, to the toxic composition of the sludge itself — all of it is woefully under-supervised. In fact, to a great extent it relies on self-regulation. OMRR guidelines (and the EPA's) are simply inadequate to deal with emerging environmental issues or ensure public safety. If the product is as the gov’t says, “stringently regulated”, then why out of the thousands of toxins and chemicals in biosolids are only about a dozen tested for? How, if it is so “stringently regulated,” did the Suzuki Foundation recently find very toxic components in the bisosolids delivered to the Nicola Valley from the Lower Mainland? If biosolids are deemed to be “safe” then why do major food producers like Campbells, DelMonte and Whole Foods reject any produce raised with Biosolids? Because they rightly fear the levels of toxicity, that’s why! The Water Utilities do a great job of separating the dangerous chemicals out of the water, so that water can be returned to Mother Earth. Why would we ever think it a good idea to turn around and put those collected and concentrated toxins back into the environment we just took them out of? It is reckless and short-sighted.

ike the Halifax Project with its 300+ cancer doctors) are trying to get the world to acknowledge. The absurd situation is that we have soils specialists, agronomists etc determining the safety of something they are utterly unqualified to make such pronouncements about - this is the realm of chemists, doctors, oncologists ...ike the Halifax Project with its 300+ cancer doctors) are trying to get the world to acknowledge. The absurd situation is that we have soils specialists, agronomists etc determining the safety of something they are utterly unqualified to make such pronouncements about - this is the realm of chemists, doctors, oncologists ...

Dr. Thomas Maler“it seems obvious that application of sewage sludge/biosolids on the land is not the answer to dispose of these toxins and pathogens … Not putting this toxic soup on the land is the only way of protecting our environment and that’s the primary reason for treating our sewage in the first place.” (see http://bit.ly/2zXeXwo for Dr. Maler's overview of the issues) 

Dr. Richard Honour - "Few in any governments appreciate that nearly all chronic diseases are caused by long-term exposure to low levels of environmental contaminants and pollutants. We should be trying to minimize this exposure, not amplifying it. It is time to end land disposal of Toxic Sewer sludge, and look at cleaner, greener alternatives - gasification / pyrolysis."



Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Toxic City Waste Residuals are being disposed of on Kamloops area Ranchlands !


A response to the Sylvis LAP (Land Application Plan) for spreading sewer sludge aka “biosolids” or aka “beneficial residuals” on a ranch near Kamloops –

Sylvis uses two main sources to support its LAP’s for spreading sewer sludge on farms and ranchlands. They are outdated – one a dozen years old, and the other a shocking 25 years old!

Here is what Sylvis says - “Studies summarized by Sopper (1993) provide several examples of successful soil conditioning, improvement of soil physical properties, and subsequent increases in crop production which were achieved through addition of biosolids to soil.”

Note that Sylvis foregrounds soil properties rather than focusing on the more important issue: how this dumping of sewer sludge aka “biosolids” makes these fields into toxic waste sites.

Here is the recent science they don’t give you -

To begin with please note that because of its deleterious effect on soils, Switzerland (2003) completely banned the use of sewer sludge aka "biosolids" on agricultural soils. They took this stand because of "the risk of irreversible damage to the soil, the danger to public health and possible negative effects on the quality of the food farmers produce." ... "the precautionary principle has absolute priority in soil protection." (see - https://www.admin.ch/…/docu…/media-releases.msg-id-1673.html )

Scientific Journal Articles -

“Metals and organic chemicals that resist biological mineralization can sorb to solid particles and also accumulate in sludge. These include polybrominated flame retardants, pharmaceuticals like Prozac and Tagamet, human hormones such as estrogen, antibiotics, narcotics including cocaine, and the metabolites of these compounds.” (Professors - Jordan Peccia and Paul Westerhoff Yale University, Arizona State University 2015)

“One class of these thousands of chemicals in sludge/biosolids is called PPCPs or Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products and these compounds are taken up by plants in hundreds of micrograms per kg of plant tissue and nothing is known about the effect of this on the plants and on the animals that consume them including humans. The uptake and metabolism of these thousands of different compounds varies greatly with their composition.” (M. Bartrons, J. Peñuelas, TRPLSC 1514, 12, 2016).

Micro-plastics (becoming increasingly common in biosolids) are synthetic polymers and cannot be broken down by microorganism no matter how long they will sit on the land or in the ocean. They will survive for many hundreds of years without any noticeable degradation and are eaten by fish, plankton and other marine and fresh water animals, (M.L. Taylor et al, Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 33997 (2016). As noted, the actual toxicity of the micro-plastics themselves is also increased by absorption of toxic chemicals onto their surface. These polymers can't be broken down/metabolized by any creature that ingests them and so if they are loaded by absorbed toxins, they become even more lethal, (M.A.Browne et al. Current Biology, 2013; 23 (23): 2388).

"The input of organic micro and nano-pollutants into the environment has increased in recent years. Emerging pollutants are defined as new chemicals without regulatory status and which impact on environment and human health are poorly understood. The list of emerging compound classes consists of pharmaceuticals, steroid and hormones, surfactants, flame retardants, industrial additives and agents, gasoline additives. There are two main potential routes of environmental exposure associated with these compounds: the land application of municipal biosolids (typically to agricultural fields) and wastewater use in irrigated agriculture. These pollutants contaminate groundwater, soil and are transferred to plants. Drugs have especially strong influence on soil biota (bacteria, earthworms, and others). In contaminated soil microorganism reaction to these compounds is determined not only by the composition and amount of emerging pollutants but geochemical and environmental factors." (“Soil contamination by organic micropollutants” 2015, Vodyanitskii.)

"This study indicates that some CECs (contaminants of emerging concern, including pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs), are sufficiently persistent and mobile to be vertically transported into the soil column following biosolids applications to the land surface, even in semiarid regions" … "Eggen et al. (2011) reported uptake of pharmaceuticals by plants (carrots, wheat and barley cereals, meadow fescue, turnip rape seed) and negative effects on growth and development of carrots; however, the wheat samples from the Colorado study were not analyzed for pharmaceutical CECs. Holling et al. (2012) reported pharmaceutical and triclosan uptake by cabbage roots and aerials." … "Triclosan, a synthetic antimicrobial compound, was persistent in biosolids through the 180 days of sampling (Figure 3). Large concentrations in the first (top) soil interval dissipated little over time." …"Concentrations of 4-nonylphenol (sum of all isomers), a detergent or metabolite, were substantial in the Colorado biosolids (approximately 200 ppm) and persisted through at least 180 days post-application" … "the persistence of this CEC in biosolids and soil indicates the potential for long-term environmental effects." … "A plasticizer and flame retardant, TBEP, was detected in biosolids at relatively small concentrations compared to other CECs but was consistently detected in biosolids through 180 days post-application" … "The results of this study indicate that CECs in biosolids persisted in a real field-application environment. Between 180 and 468 days post-application, select CECs migrated deeper into the soil profile or were taken up by plant roots." … "This study demonstrates that agronomic applications of biosolids result in detectable concentrations of CECs in soil, and that CECs can persist in surficial biosolids and in soil-biosolid mixtures at detectable concentrations on time scales exceeding one year, particularly under the semiarid conditions present at this study site." (“Dissipation of contaminants of emerging concern in biosolids applied to nonirrigated farmland in eastern Colorado.” 2014 Tracy J.B. Yager et al ).

"Accumulation of organic contaminants implies a risk to not only earthworm populations but also many vertebrate species feeding on earthworms. So far information about the accumulation of PFASs by earthworms from soil is quite limited.” … "land application of biosolids not only increases the OM contents, but also results in the accumulation of PFASs in soils." … "Earthworms may take up contaminants from soil and porewater, both through their skin (dermal) and by ingestion (oral). It is assumed that only contaminants that can be released from soil/sediment are available to biological receptors.....The results verified that the soil PFOS and PFOA concentrations and soil OM content ([OM]) are two key factors controlling the bioavailability of PFOS and PFOA in soils." … "These suggested that soil concentration and OM content dominated the bioavailability of PFASs in soils. Soil pH and clay content appeared relatively unimportant for PFOS and PFOA bioavailability....The results of this study demonstrated that contamination of PFOS and PFOA in soils as a result of biosolids land application led to accumulation of PFOS and PFOA in earthworms with higher concentration of PFOS than that of PFOA." “Bioavailability of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in biosolids-amended soils to earthworms (Eisenia fetida)” 2014 Wena, Zhang et al ).




Sylvis assures the ranchers and farmers that “Grazing of transient wildlife will not endanger the animal’s health” (Henry, 2005).

Sylvis uses one study to back this assertion up, while ignoring evidence that states the opposite

“Small mammals have been shown to accumulate heavy metals after sewage sludge was applied to forest lands. Shrews, shrew-moles, and deer mice absorbed metals from sludge” ("Heavy Metal Accumulation in Small Mammals following Sewage Sludge Application to Forests" by Linda J. Hegstrom and Stephen D. West)

“Insects in the soil absorb toxins, which then accumulate in birds.” ("Uptake of Polychlorobiphenyls Present in Trace Amounts from Dried Municipal Sewage Sludge Through an Old Field Ecosystem" by Thomas S. Davis et.al.)

"The study highlights potential risks associated with the common practice of grazing livestock on pastures on which human sewage sludge-derived fertilizer has been used.” … "More worryingly, since low-level chemical exposure poses a threat to human reproductive development, the consumption of products from animals grazing such pastures may be of considerable environmental concern." (“The fetal ovary exhibits temporal sensitivity to a ‘real-life’ mixture of environmental chemicals” 2016 by Richard G. Lea, Maria R. Amezaga, et al.)

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) & The issue of Prions in Biosolids -
"Normal sewage treatments do not degrade or inactivate prions: “most would partition to activated sludge solids, survive mesophilic anaerobic digestion, and be present in treated biosolids."
“CWD is certainly the most contagious prion infection, with infected animals shedding prions from every orifice."
"CWD has been shown to persist and remain infectious in the environment. CWD prions adhere to minerals such as montmorillonite (Mte) in clay-based soils that can dramatically increase infectivity, up to 680 times"
"Transmission of CWD has been shown to occur: animal to animal, soil to animal, plants to animal, soil to plants to animal"
"This underscores the very essence of the precautionary principle, and nowhere is it more requisite than with respect to infectious pathogens. Inadequate policy or regulatory failures can result in pandemics that kill thousands or even millions of people or other animals, causing enormous damage on economies and ecosystems." (by Valerius Geist, Professor Emeritus, University of Calgary David Clausen, (former) Chair, Wisconsin Natural Resources Board Vince Crichton, (former) Co-Chair, Canada’s National Wildlife Disease Strategy Darrel Rowledge, Director, Alliance for Public Wildlife)
http://www.apwildlife.org/publications/ Download the research at this link.



The choice is yours – you can believe the sludge industry employees who are paid to spread these big city toxic residuals over ranchland and farms, or you can believe independent scientists who, at arm’s length, have no financial gain in this reckless practice.

As the Swiss government has noted, "Soil is a limited, ecologically and economically valuable non-renewable resource. Along with water and air, it is essential for life. … Soil is the final repository for pollutants, which means that chemical pollution is often irreversible …the precautionary principle has absolute priority in soil protection." (https://www.bafu.admin.ch/…/i…/soil-protection-measures.html )

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Swiss Protect their Soils & Ban Biosolids from Agriculture

The Swiss have totally banned "biosolids" from agriculture and developed other policies to protect its soils! 



Switzerland has completely banned the use of sewer sludge aka "biosolids" on agricultural soils.



They took this stand because of "the risk of irreversible damage to the soil, the danger to public health and possible negative effects on the quality of the food farmers produce." ... "the precautionary principle has absolute priority in soil protection."

"Soil is a limited, ecologically and economically valuable non-renewable resource. Along with water and air, it is essential for life."

"All human activities affecting the soil must always take into account that it is scarcely possible to generate new soil because soil formation takes a very long time. Soil is an inert medium that takes a long time to respond to exogenous influences, which means that problems are only recognised later and often too late. Soil is the final repository for pollutants, which means that chemical pollution is often irreversible. That is why only structurally intact soil can function properly."



"Precautionary measures must be taken to protect fertile soil - irrespective of its use - from physical, chemical and biological pressures."

"Like water, air, and forests, soil is a common good, which may be used but not destroyed by its owner. Anyone who uses the soil is also responsible for protecting it."

"Chemical soil contamination impairs soil fertility. It leads to defects in plant growth and causes health risks for humans and animals through the consumption of contaminated harvested products, polluted groundwater and direct contact with soil (e.g. by playing children)."



For more on the Swiss concepts of soil protection see - https://www.bafu.admin.ch/bafu/en/home/topics/soil/info-specialists/soil-protection-measures.html

For more on the original ban on biosolids see - https://www.admin.ch/gov/en/start/documentation/media-releases.msg-id-1673.html