| Comments on The Next Pandemic
The links on this page are not broken -- the government has simply
deleted the pages and the info. updated 7/17/2014
|From the Administrator as well as comments by Dr. McGowan and Sludgewatch Administrator.
EPA Office of Water created its fraudulent 503 sludge policy regulation without any input from microbiologist,
medical doctors, medical professionals, veterinarians or lawyers and we now have a pandemic on our hands.
Pandemic generally is used to refer to a potential deadly widespread outbreak of flu. However, it also applies to a
widespread epidemic of foodborne poisoning by infectious agents. Since EPA started dumping infectious
contaminated sewage sludge on food crops, home lawns, gardens and parks in the late 80's, the United States has
been in a pandemic state since the early 90s. Yet, EPA has had the statutory authority to prevent Federal Agencies
from properly investigating this pandemic and reporting the facts. The pandemic has been blames on the victims.
In 1996, Ralph J. Touch, Ph.D, R.S. DAAS Chief Sanitarian U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Public
Health Service Presented a paper, NEW, REEMERGING AND DRUG RESISTANT DISEASES: ROLE OF THE
SANITARIAN. He noted foodborne poisoning incidents had reached 81 million cases annually in the United States.
The paper has been removed from the website http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/SO/emergdis.html
In May 1997, Food and Drug Administration, U. S. Department of Agriculture,
U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, used 1994 data in a report to
the President, FOOD SAFETY FROM FARM TO TABLE:
A NATIONAL FOOD SAFETY INITIATIVE
In 1990 there was 6.5 million cases of foodborne poisoning. Yet:
"The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, a private nonprofit organization, estimated in its 1994 report,
Foodborne Pathogens: Risks and Consequences, that as many as 9,000 deaths and 6.5 to 33 million illnesses in
the United States each year are food-related. The Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that medical costs
and productivity losses for 7 specific pathogens in food have been estimated to range between $6.5 billion and
$34.9 billion annually. Total costs for all foodborne illnesses are likely to be much higher. Those estimates do not
include the total burden placed on society by the chronic illness caused by some foodborne pathogens".
CDC Foodborne Illness webpage notes
In the last 15 years, several important diseases of unknown cause have turned out to be complications of foodborne
infections. For example, we now know that the Guillain-Barre syndrome can be caused by Campylobacter infection,
and that the most common cause of acute kidney failure in children, hemolytic uremic syndrome, is caused by
infection with E. coli O157:H7 and related bacteria. In the future, other diseases whose origins are currently
unknown may turn out be related to foodborne infections. http://www.cdc.
In Food-Related Illness and Death in the United States, Paul S. Mead, Laurence Slutsker, Vance Dietz, Linda F.
McCaig, Joseph S. Bresee, Craig Shapiro, Patricia M. Griffin, and Robert V. Tauxe of CDC state:
To better quantify the impact of foodborne diseases on health in the United States, we compiled and analyzed
information from multiple surveillance systems and other sources. We estimate that foodborne diseases cause
approximately 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths in the United States each year.
Known pathogens account for an estimated 14 million illnesses, 60,000 hospitalizations, and 1,800 deaths. Three
pathogens, Salmonella, Listeria, and Toxoplasma, are responsible for 1,500 deaths each year, more than 75% of
those caused by known pathogens, while unknown agents account for the remaining 62 million illnesses, 265,000
hospitalizations, and 3,200 deaths. Overall, foodborne diseases appear to cause more illnesses but fewer deaths
than previously estimated.
More than 200 known diseases are transmitted through food (1). The causes of foodborne illness include viruses,
bacteria, parasites, toxins, metals, and prions, and the symptoms of foodborne illness range from mild
gastroenteritis to life-threatening neurologic, hepatic, and renal syndromes. In the United States, foodborne
diseases have been estimated to cause 6 million to 81 million illnesses and up to 9,000 deaths each year (2-5).
However, ongoing changes in the food supply, the identification of new foodborne diseases, and the availability of
new surveillance data have made these figures obsolete. New, more accurate estimates are needed to guide
prevention efforts and assess the effectiveness of food safety regulations. http://www.cdc.
Comments on the Next Pandemic
By Dr. Edo McGowan
When speaking of the next pandemic, all writers in this series, including
the editor, contend that we are generally unprepared and that health care
will be overwhelmed. Thus there are critical things we now do not do. A lack
of scientific and regulatory coordination is high on that list. On the other
hand there are activities that directly augment the risks of assuring spread
of a pandemic. One area that was missed is how we dispose of our waste,
In North America and on most other continents, the practice of land applied
sewer sludge has gained unprecedented acceptance. This move has been driven
by the need to rapidly rid ourselves of our waste. Unfortunately, the
science behind this activity was developed by those without a good grounding
in communicable and infectious disease. Nonetheless, there is a massive,
highly moneyed and politically powerful constituency backing this
Both the Osterholm and Karesh/Cook papers note the movement of genetic
material between various organisms, thus providing the opportunity to cook
up entirely new types of pathogens. This is how the uncertainty is
multiplied and how our immune systems will be faced with the unknown and
Interestingly, much of this goes on every day in our own back yards. The
sewer treatment plant in almost every city or town across nation after
nation is already doing this mixing. The poorly treated waste is then
discharged to ocean or river, to open land and the solids, now termed
biosolids, are spread across thousands of square miles in volumes of tons
per acre. There, this material is open to background organisms, livestock,
man and wildlife. It is supposed to be a controlled activity, but those
regulating it have little understanding of the capacity for movement of
genetic material between and amongst various organisms.
In the case of SARS in Toronto, the patients and their contacts were very
carefully tracked and confined. Their human waste, however, was merely
flushed down the toilet. From there it went to the sewer works and was mixed
therein with trillions of other organisms and pathogens. Then it was
discharged to the lakes or put on farmland as biosolids and nobody thought
the worst of that activity.
Until the entire circuit of transmission is fully appreciated, we are
fooling ourselves that we will gain a handle on the next pandemic. By our
current activity, we are unwittingly setting the stage. Imagine if you will
taking the sewage from heavily hit areas, trucking it from Toronto to farms
in Michigan, and then sending the produce across the nation in commerce.
Sewer sludge is now often the potting soil you buy at the local
nursery—didn’t know that did you? Further, E. coli O157:H7 the infamous
hamburger pathogen is now found to be able to track up inside the vascular
system of fresh lettuce—washing your lettuce won’t work. Irrigation tail
water from one farm runs into that of another. Thus through land applied
biosolids, the contained pathogens can be moved for miles—well beyond the
confines of the original farm.
The issue of pathogen transfer in sewage sludge and septage land application
is unaddressed by our regulators. Most government officials who specialize
in epidemiology are completely unfamiliar with the practice of land
application of these pathogenic wastes.
I still don't understand why feces from SARS patients were sent into the
toilets and flushed to the sewage treatment plants. SARS was to have top
containment and disinfection...and toilets do not disinfect. Indeed the
toilets spread pathogens not only into the sewage and sludge. Flushing the
toilet churns up some of the fecal matter into droplets that splatter onto
surfaces around the washroom surfaces...where they can be picked up by
others in the washroom and inhaled. CDC needs to address fecal waste
disposal in any epidemic of a virulent pathogen...like SARS.
When Toronto was hit with SARS it was almost impossible to provide this kind
of information to any regulators and public health officials...who are all
closed in crisis facilities and unreachable.
In Ontario, Public Health did require staff to find out which SARS patients
are on septic systems. Then they had to track whether these septic systems
were pumped. Then they tracked the honeywagens to farmfields. But that
didn't include all the facilities used by SARS patients....so the potential
spread opportunies are immense.
Imagine SARS or avian flu getting picked up by seagulls, racoons, field
mice. These animals could provide a reservoir of the pathogens and cause
infections in human and animal communities indefinitely.
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