Compost - Heat dried Sludge/biosolids - Soil Amendments
EPA fact sheet: Composting for Biosolids Management
"Composting is not a sterilization process and a properly composted product maintains an active population of
beneficial microorganisms that compete against the
pathogenic members."

EPA study  -- Occurrence of Pathogens in Distribution and Marketing Municipal Sludges
"Although the use of sludge as a soil amendment is attractive, it is not without potential health
risks. Toxic chemicals, including heavy metals and industrial organics, may enter the food chain
and present long-term health risks."

Toxic Organic sludge Dust is  Not Good for You, Deaths doubled in 15 years --1980/1995
The year 1993 was not a good year for science, the law or public health. It was especially bad
for farmers and the general public who depend on science and the law for protection from
pollution. In 1993 the Water Environment Federation (WEF) documented  that  toxic organic
sludge dust is a fire and explosive hazard very similar to grain dust.

Before EPA released its sham of a regulation in 1993, the Australian government issued its
"Statement of Principles concerning EXTRINSIC ALLERGIC ALVEOLITIS in the Veterans Entitlements
Act" 1986. The government recognized that working with sewage sludge was a very dangerous
occupational risk.

In Canada, the government recognizes that exposure to dried sludge/biosolids will cause the
respiratory disease "extrinsic allergic alveolitis". It is called: Sewage sludge disease

The importance of pathogenic organisms in sewage and sewage sludge ... illnesses cause 76
million cases of disease and 5000 deaths each year. ... infections and their consequences on
pathogen loading of sewage and sewage sludge. ...J. Air Waste Manage. Assoc, 2001 - -

"It is clear  that composting causes serious health-related problems for  compost workers
including an excess of nasal, ear, and skin  infections, burning eyes and skin irritation, increased  
fungal colonies, and higher white blood cell counts and  hemolytic complement."  "It is reasonable  
to assume that surrounding communities (exposed to the  facility 24 hours a day, rather than the 8-
hour work day) are  also adversely affected, and anecdotal evidence indicates  that may be the
case." (p. 1) Both urban and rural communities across the country are reporting illnesses
associated by their nearness to a composting facility. To mention just a few: Almaden, California in
the West, Islip Township and South Bronx in New York in the East, and Franklin, Kentucky in the

ANTIGENS AND ALLERGENS are a major concern for women and the elderly living near sludge
disposal sites and for people who are exposed by using sewage sludge on their lawn and garden.
Contaminated dust may collect in their homes causing Organic Toxic Dust syndrome, which may
lead to pulmonary fibrosis.

Preliminary EPA research showing the wastewater treatment process cannot remove from
biosolids disease-causing proteins known as prions could complicate the treatment industry's
push to dispose of biosolids throughland application, rather than in landfills or by incineration,
EPAscientists say
Inside EPA - May 20, 2005

Regrowth of faecal coliforms and salmonellae in stored biosolids and soil amended with biosolids
***Institute for Environmental Science, Murdoch University Murdoch 6150 Australia**

Pathogen die-off in stored wastewater sludge ****Institute for Environmental Science, Murdoch
University Murdoch

A High-Level Disinfection Standard for Land-Applied Sewage Sludges (Biosolids) The potential for
pathogen regrowth is the downside to sewage sludge being rich innutrients that promote the
growth of bacteria and fungi.Exotoxins;"proteins and peptides secreted into the surrounding
environment by growing cells",are produced by both gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria.
They are usually the most toxic of the two general types of bacterial toxins. Because they can
retain their toxicity at extremely high dilutions, some exotoxins, including staphylococcal
enterotoxins and shigatoxin, are used as biological warfare agents.  Traces of endotoxins in food
and water can cause headaches, fever, fatigue, and severe gastrointestinal symptoms; however,
their primary target is the lungs. In addition to the former symptoms, inhaling endotoxin-
contaminated dusts can cause acute airflow obstruction, shock, and even death.

(In general, the densities of microorganism-containing aerosols were higher at night than during
the day.) Appl Environ Microbiol. 1985 May; 49(5): 1191–1196.Copyright notice Effect of an
activated sludge wastewater treatment plant on ambient air densities of aerosols containing
bacteria and viruses.K F Fannin, S C Vana, and W Jakubowski                

"Pathogen Destruction and Biosolids Composting" in Biocycle of June of 1996, "There is some
evidence that coliforms and Salmonella sp. can survive prolonged exposure to temperatures of 55
C." Droffner and Brinton found that it took 56 days and 90 days for the densities of Salmonella sp.
and E. Coli, respectively, to decline below the detection limit...These investigators also "cite
evidence of mutant strains of E. coli and Salmonella sp. resistant to thermal environments in
composting." (p. 68)

Although the vegetative cell of bacteria is usually killed by heat and disinfectant, the endospore is
resistant to agents that kill the vegetative cell (heating, drying, freezing, chemicals, and radiation).
"Nester, Roberts, Pearsall and McCarthy (1978) in their text Microbiology point out the threat that
endospores present."

Linne and Ringsrud (1979) in their text Basic Techniques for the Medical Laboratory also point out
how spores, as highly resistant forms of bacteria, pose a great problem in sterilization. They state
that certain spores have been known to survive 16 hours of boiling. (p. 452)

Viable but non-culturable states A phenomena commonly known as viable but non-culturable state
has been described for many bacteria including Campylobacter, E. coli, Salmonella enteritidis,
Vibrio cholerae,Vibrio spp., and Legionella pneumophila (Rollins and Colwell, 1986; Chowdhury et
al.,1994; Roszak, Grimes, & Colwell, 1984; Oliver et al., 1995) . The bacteria are still viable
(exhibit low levels of metabolic activity) but fail to develop colonies on most traditionalsolid
culture medium. Moreover, pathogens in this viable but non-culturable state have demonstrated
the ability to return to an active potentially disease causing state (Colwell etal., 1985)

Soil and human health: a review         Soil can affect human health in several ways leading either to
specific diseases or to more general ill health. Some illnesses are caused by people's eating soil
(geophagia), or by their inhaling it which can lead to malignancy if the soil contains asbestiform
minerals; pathogens in the soil can lead to tetanus and infestations of hookworm, and particles
may enter the body through abrasions and cause a form of elephantiasis.        The European
Journal of Soil Science Volume 48 Issue 4 Page 573  - December 1997

Monitoring of Bioaerosol Emission from a Sludge Composting  ... The maladies include extrinsic
asthma, extrinsic allergic alveolitis, allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis ... at various loca tions
in a sewage sludge compost

The toxicities of many metals, such as mercury and lead, are known to man since the dawn of
civilization. Organic compounds of some heavy metals are known to have a particular toxic impact
on the central nervous system. Organomercury, particularly alkyl-mercuric compounds (e.g.
methylmercury), has a selective effect on the granule cells of the cerebellum, the nerve cells of
the calcarine cortex, and the sensory neurons in the dorsal root ganglia. J Toxicol Sci 1990 Dec;15
Suppl 4:125-51  

Total edible tissue mercury and selenium content of sludge-grown crops averaged four and two
times higher, respectively, than that of crops grown on untreated soil. In terms of plant/soil
concentration factors, selenium was more readily assimilated by crops than mercury. Arch Environ
Contam Toxicol. 1981 Nov;10(6):673-89.  

Studies show  that tobacco will take up chemicals from hazardous waste derived fertilizers,
including sludge, at a 20 to 1 ratio

Fate of Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium on Carrots and Radishes Grown in Fields Treated
with Contaminated Manure Composts or Irrigation Water.  Salmonellae persisted for an extended
period of time, with the bacteria surviving in soil samples for 203 to 231 days, and were detected
after seeds were sown for 84 and 203 days on radishes and carrots, respectively

Neurotoxicity from Municipal Sewage Sludge
By Raymond Singer, Ph.D.October, 1999
Based on results of the Neurotoxicity Screening Survey, symptoms consistent with neurotoxicity
were found in all who completed the test. The two children born and raised on the farm have been
classified by their schools as mildly retarded and having attention-deficit disorders, although there
was no family history of these illnesses

By Impairing Astrocyte Function, Virus May Cause Psychiatric Disorders physiological malfunctions
By Karla Gale

"Airborne Irritant Contact Dermatitis due to Sewage "Sludge" in the Journal of Occupational
Medicine, November 1981, 23, (11) p. 771-4 reported how an airborne irritant in sewage sludge
caused an outbreak of cases of dermatitis among incinerator workers employed in a sewage
treatment facility.

"Neurotoxic Effects of Solvent Exposure on Sewage Treatment Workers" in the Archives of
Environmental Health, July/August, 1988, 43, (4), pp. 263-68. They found after examining nineteen
STWs (Sewage Treatment Workers) exposed to industrial sewage that contained benzene, toluene,
and other organic solvents at a primary sewage treatment plant in New York City (Plant A). "that
fourteen (74%) complained of central nervous system (CNS) symptoms consistent with solvent
exposure, including lightheadedness, fatigue, increased sleep requirement, and headache."  

"Work Related Symptoms Among Sewage Workers" in the British Journal of Industrial Medicine in
August 1983, revealed that a higher proportion of employees at sewage treatment plants reported
skin disorders, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal symptoms than the control group.  The results
of a clinical investigation that was made among workers in a sewage treatment plant in Switzerland
with similar aged workers in a control group who were not exposed to sewage showed that in
about half of the exposed workers there were acute incidences of fever and eye symptoms.

"Studies on Humans Exposed to Airborne Sewage "Sludge", Journal Article with English abstract,
Schweiz Med Wochenschr, February 12, 1977, 107 (6), pp. 182-4).

"Biological Health Risks Associated with the Composting of Wastewater" , they found there were
biological effects on the workers from their exposure to composts. Physical examinations of the
control group revealed there was an excess of abnormal eye, ear, nose and skin conditions among
the workers exposed to the composts.  Nose and throat cultures were positive for Aspergillus
fumigatus. In Journal of Water Pollution Control Federation, 1984. 57 (12), pp. 1269-76  

Composting causes serious health related problems for compost workers including an excess of
nasal, ear, and skin infections, burning eyes and skin irritation, increased fungal colonies, and
higher white blood cell counts and hemolytic complement (A letter to Kenneth Olden of NIEHS from
Drs. Jordan A. Fink, Professor of Medicine, Chief Allergy Immuno Therapy Division, Medical College
of Wisconsin,November 3, 1992)

Pollution Control Federation (1981) vol 53 (6): pp.776-786 Lucas reviewed the nonmicrobiologic
contaminates of wastewater aersols, noting that toxic gases and myriad chemicals, both organic
and inorganic, may pose a significant hazard to wastewater treatment workers and potentially to
the general public in surrounding areas.

HEALTH effects associated with wastewater treatment,disposal, and reuse.  Published in WEF's
JournalWater Pollution Federation (1987) vol 59(6): pp 436-440

A cluster of cancer deaths among wastewater treatment workers. A cluster of cancer deaths among
wastewater treatment workers. Lagorio S, De Santis M, Comba P. Publication Types Letter MeSH
Terms Cause of Death ..Eur J Epidemiol. 1996 Dec;12(6):659-60.        .
gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve& db=PubMed&list_uids=8982632&dopt=Abstract

Organic compounds in sludges, with emphasis on, health risks associated with land application of
municipal sudges, have been reviewed by Kover (260), Dacre (103-104), Parin et al. (349), and
briefly by Connery(96).Surveys of toxic organics in sludge

"Respiratory Hazards of Organic Dust Exposure: Table 1" Journal of Respiratory Disease; Vol. 15,
No. 6; pg. 553; June 1994 Table 1 - Respiratory hazards of organic dust exposure Exposures  
Vegetable: Grains, hay, pollen, cotton, wood Animal: Dander, hair, feathers, skin, feces [sludge].
Fungal and bacterial antigens and toxins Insect and mite antigens.  Respiratory effects Mucous
membrane irritation, bronchitis, asthma, nonasthmatic chronic airflow obstruction,organic dust
toxic syndrome, hypersensitivity pneumonitis

The accumulation of potentially toxic elements in edible body tissues of lambs grazing after a
single application of sewage sludge. Water Res. 2003 Jan;37(1):128-38.

Public Health Implications of Water Reuse in the Food and Beverage Industry
R Carr, S Geneva -

... America caused 750,000 cases and 6500 deaths (PAHO, 1991 ... and the use of sewage sludge in
the ... to more efficient prevention of adverse health effects associated .

Understanding the human health effects of chemical mixtures DO Carpenter, K Arcaro, DC Spink -
Environ Health Perspect, 2002 -  ... 28 VOLUME 110 | SUPPLEMENT 1 | February
2002 • Environmental Health Perspectives  factor and is responsible for an estimated 30% of all
cancer deaths and 85

When deadly cyanobacteria appears on sludged farmland, scientists call it Bluegreen algae

Cyanobacterial toxins: occurrence, modes of action, health effects and exposure routes.  Codd GA,
Ward CJ, Bell SG.  Department of Biological Sciences, University of Dundee, UK.  

Cyanobacterial toxins are produced by terrestrial- fresh-, brackish- and sea-water cyanobacteria of
cosmopolitan occurrence. These toxins present acute and chronic hazards to human and animal
health and are responsible for isolated, sporadic animal fatalities (mammals, fish, birds) each year.
Human health problems are associated with the ingestion of, and contact with cyanobacterial
blooms and their toxins. Modes of action of cyanobacterial neurotoxins, hepatotoxins and skin
irritants are considered. Recent indications of the accumulation of cyanobacterial toxins in fish,
their effect on crop plants and their association with the deaths of human dialysis patients are
discussed. These findings and events indicate an incomplete understanding of the exposure
routes of these natural toxins and the need for greater awareness of their occurrence and
properties among users of waterbodies which are prone to cyanobacterial bloom development.
Arch Toxicol Suppl. 1997;19:399-410.