FUNGUS IN SLUDGE - BIOSOLIDS - natural borne killers
Why would biohazard safety 2 fungus be declared legally safe for your children
to play with in Canada and the United States?
By Jim Bynum
Recently, the media has reported on a deadly tropical infectious cryptococcus fungus (also classified as a yeast)
environmental epidemic in Vancouver Island, B.C. which may cause pneumonia, meningitis, blindness and death in
animals as well as humans. Of the 165 documented human infections, 8 have died. Cryptococcus fungus was first
detected in 1999. Yet, it only caught the attention of Canadian scientists in 2001. The same tropical strain was first
isolated from a Seattle patient in 1971 and from a San Francisco eucalyptus tree in 1992.
While scientists appear to be trying to figure out how this disease organism traveled to Canada, it is not rare in the
United States. According to U.S. CDC, “Despite treatment, early mortality from this condition is nearly 15%. Survival
data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 3022 patients with extra pulmonary
[infection outside the lungs] cryptococcosis, 81% of whom had meningitis (infection of the membranes that envelops
the brain and spinal cord), showed a median survival time of 8.4 months.”
Cryptococcus is recognized as a very dangerous pollutant found in sludge - biosolids. According to U.S. CDC,
“RECOMMENDED PRECAUTIONS: Biosafety Level 2 and Animal Biosafety Level 2 practices and facilities are
recommended, respectively, for activities with known or potentially infectious clinical, environmental, or culture
materials and with experimentally infected animals.” In fact, “The processing of soil or other environmental materials
known or likely to contain infectious yeast cells should be conducted in a Class I or Class II biological safety cabinet.
This precaution is also indicated for culture of the perfect or sexual state of the agent.”
Another fungus, Blastomyces dermatitis which causes pneumonia, as well as brain and bone infections has also
been on the increase in Ontario, Canada. While there were only 38 cases between 1970 and 1981, the number
jumped to 309 between 1994 and 2003. There has been a dramatic increase as over half the cases occurred after
This is another very dangerous pollutant found in sludge - biosolids. According to CDC, “LABORATORY HAZARDS:
Yeast forms may be present in the tissues of infected animals and in clinical specimens. Parenteral (subcutaneous)
inoculation of these materials may cause local granulomas. Mold form cultures of B. dermatitidis containing infectious
conidia may pose a hazard of aerosol exposure. RECOMMENDED PRECAUTIONS: Biosafety Level 2 and Animal
Biosafety Level 2 practices and facilities are recommended for activities with clinical materials, animal tissues,
cultures, and infected animals.”
Apparently, the current scientific theory proposed in the media for the migration of fungus to Canada is that we are
seeing evidence of global warming. However, this may be a simple case of "agnotology"—a word coined from
agnosis, meaning "not knowing"—to describe a new approach to looking at knowledge through the study of
ignorance.” Robert N. Proctor, a professor of history in the Program in History and Philosophy of Science and
Technology, Stanford University, states, “Ignorance is created or maintained—deliberately or not—in multiple ways”
An example of the deliberate production of ignorance is the 1994 EPA and Water Environment Federation (WEF)
public relations program to change public perception about the danger to human health of sludge promoted as a
fertilizer and soil amendment. Under the banner of sound science, the industry produced research about everything
except disease organisms -- and -- fungus in sludge - biosolids was completely ignored. The real question is: how
can the laboratories in Canada and the United States understand the danger from exposure to fungus and yet, the
government agencies from both nations remain ignorant of the facts. Current FDA Requirements for Spore-
Forming Microorganisms which are ignored in sludge - biosolids handling.
As an example, the ignorance created and maintained in the sludge industry appears to have started in a 1979
study, where Marsh and Millner (USDA) state, "Spores of Aspergillus fumigatus have been found to be abundantly
present in the outdoor air at a site where large scale experimental composting of sewage sludge is in progress at
Beltsville, Maryland. The health significance of this finding, for that site and for others in the future, is still only
incompletely understood. Further studies are in progress to characterize absolute concentrations of the spores of the
fungus in air at the site, spore dispersal by air from composting operations, and background environmental spore
levels in air."
The ignorance was maintained in 1981 when USDA, FDA, and CDC joined EPA in creating a national policy to use
sewage sludge as a fertilizer on food crops. Even though these agencies claim they didn’t understand the health
significance of fungus in sludge, the policy of ignorance was expanded in 1989 to distributed and marketed
sludge as a fertilizer and soil amendment. The expanded policy of ignorance was based on a 1988 compost study
by the Los Angeles County Sanitation District who had to dispose of huge quanities of sludge.
That EPA study by Los Angeles employees focused on bacterial tests and only touched on fungus. While the study
did acknowledge a number of disease causing fungus, it also claimed ignorance of health effects and a lack of
science. Based on the lack of science, the general consensus was to maintain the ignorance and under the banner
of sound science that fungus in sludge products presented a minimal hazard.
In the 1988 EPA study "Occurrence of Pathogens in Distribution and Marketing Municipal Sludges," William
A. Yanko, County Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County, California states:
- “A number of pathogenic or allergic fungi can be isolated from sludge. These include yeasts, such as certain
specious of Candida, Cryptocuccus and Trichosporon, and pathogenic members of some filamentous genera,
such as Aspergillus, Phialophora, Geotrichum, Trichophyton and Epidermophyton.”
- "Aspergillus fumigatus, an opportunistic pathogen to individuals with pulmonary problems and a strong allergen
to many, may proliferate in some composting systems. This may be a consideration when selecting prospective
composting sites. The general consensus, however, is that fungi in treated sludges present a minimal hazard.
With the exception of the aspergilli, little work has been done to define the relationships of fungi in polluted
environments or sludges. The significance, if any, of fungal types and diversity in compost is unknown.”
- "Dermatophytic fungi [cause skin infections] , for example, may be present in sludge at detectable levels. It is
not known if the common dermatophytes can survive or proliferate in sludges. Conventional thought considers
the dermatophytes to be parasitic, although there is evidence that some dermatophytes live a saprophytic
existence. Adding large numbers of these organisms to home soils would be undesirable."
For the past 20 years EPA, USDA and WEF studies have focused on chemicals and non-disease causing bacteria in
an effort to prove sludge used as a fertilizer and soil amendment is safe. EPA has admitted: 1) that its risk
assessment did not consider any chemical in sludge to cause cancer (Los Angeles employees couldn't identify
most chemicals in EPA study); 2) that it did not do a risk assessment for disease causing organisms; and 3) it
pleads at least semi-ignorance about the danger to health of fungus in sludge - biosolids.
As Dr. Caroline Snyder points out in her peer reviewed article The Dirty Work of Promoting “Recycling” of
America’s Sewage Sludge, EPA’s Henry Longest II, John Walker, and Alan Hais were the moving force behind this
national health disaster forced on the public and perpetuated by state environmental departments under the guise of
sound science and law.
EPA’s Alan Rubin (retired) has claimed to be the genius behind the EPA’s 503 sludge use and disposal policy
guideline. Rubin has been the public face of EPA on sludge and its chief salesman during the public relations
campaign of lying to the public.. Rubin’s biggest argument for the safety of sludge use was that it was safe as
long as the laws and regulations were followed. However, his biggest omission to the public and politicians was that
503 was based on exclusions in the environmental laws. While EPA claims there are no victims, but Cornell has a
limited list. Under a freedom of information request, Rubin wanted to charge Helene Shields $40,000.00 dollars in
copy and labor cost for copies of sludge victims complaints. It would appear that Rubin also forgot a key
definition in his guideline that states exposure to any of the pollutants in sludge (i.e. organic, inorganic chemical,
disease organisms or a combination of them), through air, water or food could cause death, disease, cancer, etc..
Nevertheless, since his retirement, Rubin has become a consultant for the sludge industry promoting the safety of
sludge use. However, today the public has a better understanding of science.
According to Jon D. Miller, a Michigan State University professor, only about 10 percent of the public knew enough
about science to understand reports in major newspapers in 1988. Now that 28% of the people know enough about
science to understand the problem, public opinion has brought pressure to bear on the sludge industry and in 2006
two studies were published which showed bacteria survived the treatment process in a viable but nonculturable state
in Class A sludge - biosolids and that multi-drug resistant bacteria was being released in sewage effluent
(reclaimed water) from award winning wastewater treatment plants.
But, as Yanko’s 1988 study hinted, there are many more fungus to worry about than just aspergillus. Individual
studies on human infection by these fungus generally fail to identify the full range of damage to the human body. The
studies also fail to note that fungus may be becoming more deadly through transfer of genetic material from bacteria.
As is the case with bacteria, a transfer of genetic material to fungus may be accelerated during the sludge - biosolids
treatment processes. Current studies indicate genetic material may be transferred between fungus, yeast, bacteria,
plant and human cells.
Frankly, its rather scary just researching the bio-hazard health damages to the human body caused by the few
fungus mentioned in Yanko’s study since they may infect any healthy individual. Then we must consider that EPA has
developed and is licensing the technology to test for 130 fungus which may also strike you down without notice.
Exposure to fungus and their deadly toxins may occur through inhalation, ingestion or skin exposure. Early symptoms
may include dermatitis, cold and flu symptoms (30,000 people die from flu each year), cough, sneezing and itching,
or a runny or stuffy nose, nose bleeds, a burning sensation in the mouth and nasal passage, headache, general
malaise, fever, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The fungus may spread through the body ravaging the organs
beyond recovery. In high doses or chronic low doses the toxins can be lethal. .
Information on the bio-hazardous nature of many fungus is still not well documented and/or scattered throughout
many studies described in a medical terms most people can‘t understand. Many of the health damages and
symptoms associated with fungus are hard to diagnose and may be missed by doctors. However, it doesn’t take a
genius to understand that this government is operating at its most cold heart level. Can you imagine any county or
city official deliberately allowing unlabeled sludge - biosolids compost to be spread on school yards and parks, and
lawns knowing the compost is loaded with fungus, as well as viable, but nonculturable bacteria, viruses, and other
disease organism. .
Fungus documented in first EPA sludge - biosolids compost study.
The following consolidated fungus and toxin information is gathered from multiple studies. Scientific studies have a
very narrow focus and are directed at other scientists. Therefore, the study may only briefly touch on a disease
organism, a few symptoms, and a single diseased organ.
Aspergillus fungus is isolated from sludge - biosolids compost, soil, plant debris, as well as indoor air environments. It
causes invasive infections and allergies as well as creating toxins that poisons the body. Aspergillus may cause
black mold on certain fruits and vegetables such as grapes, onions, and peanuts, and is a common contaminant of
Invasive human infections include finger and toe nails, sinusitis, central nervous system (brain abscess, granuloma,
meningitis, encephalitis, hemorrhage or cerebral infarction), heart muscle, heart valves, or lining of the heart, kidney,
stomach, skin (including deep soft tissue necrosis requiring surgery), bones, ear canal, eyes, liver (acute necrosis
(death of cells), cirrhosis of the liver , and carcinoma (cancer)), lungs (including pneumonia), blood,
Allergies include: bronchopulmonary, extrinsic asthma (immediate-type hypersensitivity: type I, edema and bronchi
spasms, pulmonary emphysema,
Mycotoxins produced by fungus are known to cause cancer in animals, may induce liver cancer, and may
contaminate food products. As early as 1980, “Five species of Aspergillus were isolated from post-harvest decays of
pears, apples, peaches, grapes, strawberries, melons and tomatoes.” It has also been isolated from pepper and tea,
downy-skinned fruits (apricots, kiwis, and peaches), smooth-skinned fruits (apples, bananas, lemons, and oranges),
corn and corn products, peanuts and peanut products, cottonseed, milk, and tree nuts such as Brazil nuts, pecans,
pistachio nuts, and walnuts, and moist vegetables.
Pathogens on fresh fruits and vegetables are Salmonella, Shigella, Listeria monocytogenes, E. coli
0157:H1, gastrointestinal viruses, Entamoeba histolytica, and Ascaris spp. Usually these pathogens
are incorporated by polluted irrigation water. Fruits are generally too acidic for growth of the more
common foodborne pathogens such as Salmonella and Shigella (in citrus juices). Listeria
monocytogenes can survive well on both chopped and whole tomatoes. Toxigenic molds are also a
problem since they can produce mycotoxins.
Fresh vegetables contain microorganisms coming from soil, water, air, and other environmental
sources, and can include some plant pathogens. Most of them have high pH (between 5.5 and 6.4)
except for the tomatoes; therefore, they are not only spoiled by yeasts and molds but also by
bacteria. Mold spoilage is caused by Penicillium, Phytophthora, Alternaria, Botrytis, Fusarium,
Cladosporium, Phoma, Trichoderma, and Aspergillus. Among the bacteria, species of Pseudomonas,
Erwinia, Xanthomonas, Enterobacter, Flavobacterium, Chromobacter, Lactobacillus, Bacillus, and
Clostridium are the most important as well as non fecal enterococci and lactic acid streptococci.
Symptoms: flu-like illness, Cough, Coughing up blood (seen in up to 75% of patients), Chest pain, Shortness of
breath, Wheezing, Unintentional weight loss, Fever, Chills, Malaise, headaches, nausea, diarrhea, sharp abdominal
pains, stomach lesions, (Bladder, liver, spleen, kidney and bone pain), memory loss; brain confusion, slurred speech,
dementia, blurred vision, discolored nails, dermatitis, Chronic fatigue, rash or hives, Reproductive system problems,
Blood in the urine, Cancer , Joint/muscle stiffness and pain, Irregular heart beat, infected heart muscle/lining, heart
attack, hemorrhage, edema, and may end in death.
Candida infection -
Candida is a fungus that is normally present on the skin. It may cause infections in soft tissue (muscles, tendons,
fibrous tissues, fat, blood vessels, nerves, and synovial tissues) and mucous membranes such as the vagina,
urinary tract, mouth, nose, respiratory system, rectum, finger nails. Internally it may penetrate the lining of the
stomach and release toxins into the blood stream affecting the kidneys, heart, lungs, brain, eyes and other organs
and cause chronic meningitis.
Invasive Candida may cause high fever, chills, anemia, and sometimes a rash or shock.
Symptoms may include: pain, headaches, extreme fatigue, muscle aches, joint pains, and arthritis. There may also
be altered mental status, confusion, and disorientation as the disease spreads. This of course leads to depression,
phobia’s, irrational conduct and seizures. Without treatment, the organs and systems shut down.
First environmental isolation was in peach juice. First identified in humans in 1894. The organism can infect almost all
organs in the body, although it most commonly causes disease of the meninges surrounding the brain and spine
(cryptococcal meningitis), skin, or lungs (meningeal tuberculosis) and cryptococcal pneumonia in the lungs. Infected
blood may cross the blood/brain barrier causing brain abscesses. As early as 1980, Japanese scientists Nagai and
Kawai found that rabbits and rats developed myocarditis (inflamation of the heart muscle) when injected with
Cryptocuccus. More recently Cryptocuccus is found in transplant patients. Cryptococcal infection may spread to the
kidneys, bone marrow, heart, adrenal glands, lymph nodes, urinary tract, spleen, prostate, testicles, blood, eyes, and
skin. Skin rashes and lesions may appear.
Symptoms: may include fever, headaches, nausea, vomiting, unwanted weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision, stiff
neck, aversion to light, and seizures. cryptococcosis can cause serious symptoms of brain and spinal cord disease,
such as headaches, dizziness, sleepiness, confusion, seizure, progressive dementia, or bizarre behavior. Reported
mortality rate of meningitis 6-25%.
First described in the 1960s as a cause of pulmonary mycosis (Mycosis fungoides is a type of lymphoma) among the
patients in a large Veterans Administration hospital, 0.8% of throat cultures and 3.1% of stool culture findings were
positive for T beigelii, and other studies report similar rates. Invasion of mucosal barriers appears to be followed by
vascular invasion and local spread, which are then followed by dissemination to other sites. The liver, spleen, kidney,
lungs, eye, brain, GI tract, and skin are frequently involved in the acute disseminated syndrome. http://www.
Trichosporon is a yeast isolated from [sludge - biosolids compost], soil, water samples, vegetables, mammals, and
birds. As well as being a member of the normal flora of mouth, skin and nails, it is the causative agent of superficial
and deep infections in humans. May develop invasive infection, which usually progresses rapidly, involving various
organs and systems, including the lungs, kidneys, and spleen. May also infect prosthetic valves, central nervous
system (including chronic meningitis), cornea and the peritoneum (in patients receiving peritoneal dialysis). http:
Phialophora is a dark colored fungus isolated from compost, soil and wood.
It causes: fungal infection of the skin (may be chronic), inflammation of the cornea, heart valves and/or lining, cysts,
arthritis, bone, meningitis, nails, other opportunistic infections through out the body, and blood vessel hemorrhage,
which may be fatal.
Trichosporon ovoides is a synonym of this obsolete species.
Trichophyton is a parasitic fungus upon the skin which inhabits compost, soil, humans or animals and which has the
ability to invade tissue, break down protein, hydrolysis of elastin, hydrolysis of keratin.
Epidermophyton is a parasitic fungus upon the skin.
It causes a flat discolored scaling area on the skin, possible ring shape lesions, ringworm, and infects nails
(thickening, roughness, and splitting of the nails) , groin (the region between the thighs), athlete’s foot, may be
It is a communicable disease, especially in showers and gyms.
In 2004, Dr. Muhammad Qasim Khan, Department of Soil Science, Gomal University, isolated from sewage sludge
fertilizered vegetables the bacteria, E.coli, Staph.aureus., Staph citreus, Bacillus megatarium and Xanthomonas spp.
He also isolated the following Fungi in the vegetables, Mucor spp., Rhizopus spp. & Aspergillus spp.
Mucor is a fungus found in compost soil, plants, decaying fruits and vegetables. It is a common laboratory
contaminant, Mucor spp. may cause infections in man, frogs, amphibians, cattle, and swine.
Infections: blood vessel-invasion (which causes embolization (fibroids -non-cancerous (benign) growths) and
necrosis (death of cells and living tissue) of surrounding tissue), eyes, nose and throat, -facial (face and dental)-
cranial (brain and spine) area, lungs, gastrointestinal tract (gastritis), respiratory, skin, and other organ systems,
reactive arthritis (invasion of the joints), peritonitis (stomach lining, appendicitis or diverticulitis), kidney, necrosis of
the infected tissue. Eye, nose and throat and cerebral infections (may cause death within a few days),
Symptoms: facial and eye, muscles, nerves pain, fever, cough and dyspnea; (abnormal or uncomfortable breathing);
hemoptysis (coughing up of blood from nose, mouth, throat, the airway passages leading to the lungs), pain in heart,
bone, kidneys, bladder, trachea, and mediastinum (the part of the thoracic cavity between the lungs that contains the
heart and aorta and esophagus and trachea and thymus), may be untreatable.
Rhizopus is fungus found in sludge - biosolids compost, soil, decaying fruit and vegetables, animal feces, and old
bread. Rhizopus spp. may cause serious (and often fatal) infections in humans. Some species are plant pathogens
Rhizopus cause infections in the rhino (eye, nose, throat) -facial (includes dental) - cranial (brain and spine) area,
lungs, gastrointestinal tract, skin, vessel (arterial) invasion resulting in embolization and necrosis (death) of
surrounding tissue, Rhinocerebral disease in acidotic patients usually results in death, often within a few days,
stomach, ileum, and colon, heart, bone, kidneys, bladder, trachea, and mediastinum, ((the part of the thoracic cavity
between the lungs that contains the heart and aorta and esophagus and trachea and thymus), mouth palate,
necrotic (dead tissue) ulcers, cover for nerve fibers, may include prostatitis, benign prostatic hyperplasia (abnormal
development (of organs or cells)), urogenital cancers, premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction,
Symptoms: facial and/or eye pain, proptosis (displacement of an organ), and progressive signs of involvement of
orbital structures (muscles, nerves and vessels), fever, cough and dyspnea (abnormal or uncomfortable breathing),
hemoptysis (coughing up of blood from nose, mouth, throat, the airway passages leading to the lungs) may occur
with blood vessel invasion. May be fatal
With the retirement of EPA's old liars, in 2006, EPA was more forthcoming about the potential deadly health effects in
its Biosolids Technology Fact Sheet , Use of Composting for Biosolids Management
The potential problems to be expected from sludge compost according to EPA::
- Survival and presence of primary pathogens in the product.
- Composting is not a sterilization process and a properly composted product maintains an active population of
beneficial microorganisms that compete against the pathogenic members. Under some conditions ,explosive
regrowth of pathogenic microorganisms is possible.
- Dispersion of secondary pathogens such as Aspergillus fumigatus, particulate matter, other airborne allergens
- While healthy individuals may not be affected, immunocompromised individuals may be at risk.
- The spores of A. fumigatus counts at composting facilities are high, and-- persons handling composted
biosolids being exposed to these spores is also high (Epstein, 1998).
- These organisms can potentially invade a normal, healthy human being and produce illness or
According to Joslyn Sciacca-Kirby, MD, (2006) Staff Physician, Department of Dermatology, Hospital of the University
of Pennsylvania, “For deep fungal infection (eg, with Cryptococcus neoformans, Histoplasma capsulatum,
Coccidioides immitis [valley fever-Kern County has epidemic], or Blastomyces dermatitis) surgery is necessary when
infection involves the tendon sheaths, causes persistent pain, or produces a discharging sinus (cavity in body).”
These necroticizing deep infections of soft tissue (death of the living cells) were first seen in community acquired
infections attributed to Streptococcus and then Staphylococcus bacteria, which the media called flesh eating
Would anyone in their right mind exposure expose the public to these deadly disease organisms? Then,
why would cities and counties dispose of disease contaminated sludge - biosolids on school grounds,
parks, lawns, forests, grazing land and food crops?