Deadly Deceit

                                           CHAPTER 11



Thomas Jefferson said: "It is an axiom in my mind that
our liberty can never be safe but in the hands of the
people themselves. Every government degenerates when
trusted to the rulers of the people alone."

There is a ground swell of angry people all across the

United States who have organized grassroots groups, from New

Hampshire to Hawaii, to fight the spreading of sewage sludge

on our food crop production land. The EPA and USDA's intent

to include pollutants contaminated sludge as a fertilizer on

organic foods focused people's attention on the need to

protect our food supply. When the USDA's Organic Rule was

released for comment, USDA Secretary Dan Glickman reported

approximately 50,000 comments were received from the public

objecting to the proposed rule a month before the comment

period ended.  USDA expected to receive at least 70,000

comments.  According to the April 6, 1998 issue of The

Newsletter SLUDGE, Glickman said, it is "the largest public

response to a rule in modern history at the department."

One of the first sludge activists was Linda Zander of

Lynden, Washington, who founded Help for Sewage Victims to

assist others who like her and her family had become

victims of sewage sludge. In Ohio, Pat Wolford became an

activist in Citizens Concerned About Sludge when it was put

on farm land 2 miles from her place.  The more Pat learned

about sludge--what it contained and how it was poorly

regulated--the more determined she became to fight to get it

banned. She was successful in getting one site closed down.

Tina Daly in Pennsylvania, the leader on the Sludge Team of

the Pennsylvania Environmental Network, has been busy

networking with others and compiling and sending out

information packets, and organizing workshops protesting its

use in Pennsylvania. In California, Jane Beswick became

involved with sludge when a neighbor was planning to spread

sludge on rented property adjoining her dairy farm. She is

the Coordinator of the Coalition for Sludge Education and a

member of the Stanislaus County Sludge Task Force. Working

with the California Farm Bureau and others, she was

successful in getting sludge banned in Stanislaus County.

In New Hampshire, Abby Rockefeller's concern for the

preservation of the integrity of the soil and of the

ecosystems and the agriculture dependent upon it, led her to

become a founding member of Citizens for a Future New

Hampshire. Joining Abby, is Helane Shields who has been a

thorn in the side of Alan Rubin. They are successfully

fighting the spread of sludge town by town in New Hampshire.

On March 15, 1998 the Sunday Monitor carried the story of one

of their successes. NO SLUDGE in WEBSTER! 155 to 62; no class

B, no class A!

In New Hampshire, Mary Merci, who became concerned when

BFI wanted to use sludge to reclaim a sand pit across from

her, led a group of activists who were also successful in

getting sludge banned in their town. Several groups have been

working in New York to stop both composting and land

application of sludge. Tom and Louisa Bisogno of Brewster

worked with Citizens of Putnam to help defeat a composting

operation there. Melissa Jacobs and Valeria Knight working

with RAGE and CEC have been opposing use of sludge on root

crops in their vicinity. Melissa became involved in stopping

an 8 million gallon sewage sludge storage lagoon and sludge

injection facility 2 miles from her organic farm. She won!

Marian Feinberg and Jacqueline Cooperman helped the

South Bronx Clean Air Coalition and the Hunts Point Awareness

Committee to focus attention on the terrible air pollution

problems there that were making children ill. When the group

got the attention of Representative Serrano, who appears to

be only one of a few congressmen who takes his mandate to

represent the people seriously, the situation was improved

but not resolved. In Kapolei, Hawaii, Linda Smith

successfully led a coalition to stop a composting facility.

Charlotte Hartman of the Citizens' Environmental

Coalition, after attending the symposium on Minimizing Risks

and Sharing Liability From Application of Sludge and Sludge

By-Products on Agricultural Land of The Springfield District

Farm Credit Council, of Springfield, Massachusetts,

a regional environmental group in New York, became so

concerned, she organized the Sludge Roundtable, a meeting of

environmental groups from across the United States, which was

held in July of 1996.  During that meeting, the National

Sludge Alliance was created.  Hartman has taken the lead as

its director in compiling information on sludge application

problems from across the country, from Hawaii to New York,

and furnishing the information to people who have been harmed

by sludge use or who are concerned about the use of sludge on

land and food crops.

The National Sludge Alliance (NSA) is concerned because

the national media, except for CNN, and reporters and editors

like Joel Bleifuss of In These Times, Greg Campbell of the

Boulder Weekly, Chris Carrel of Seattle Times, Duff Wilson of

the Seattle Times, and John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton of

Center for Media and Democracy for the most part, failed to

adequately examine the use of sludge as a fertilizer. It is

the consensus of the NSA that while the issues may have been

too complex for some reporters to grasp, many major news

organizations have failed to address the problem because of

pressure put on them by EPA and its stakeholders.  As we

discovered in Kansas City, the Kansas City Star newspaper was

number 17 on the list of major contributors of pollutants
which effected sludge use. Therefore, it is self-evident that

EPA and its stakeholders, the treatment plants, can bring

considerable pressure to bear on certain news organizations.

The Prime Time TV program on the sludge mountain in

California is another example.

There were several other very important people at

the symposium with Hartman who were extremely concerned about

the potential liability to the farmers and more concerned

about the effects sludge use could have on our food supply

and our children.  Among these were, Ellen Harrison, Director

of Cornell's Waste Management Institute, and Ken Cobb, also

associated with the Institute, and Dr. David Bouldin, of

Cornell's Department of Soil, Crop, and Atmospheric Sciences.

Ellen Harrison, put her reputation and job on the line

when she challenged EPA's risk assessment and methods in

developing the Part 503 regulation. Scientist, David Bouldin

joined her, as did their colleague at Cornell, Dr. Murray

McBride. When these courageous scientists reevaluated the

EPA's risk assessment methods, they found that EPA had

used a less conservative method of figuring the safe level of

metals that could be disposed of on farmland.  Their 1997

study, The Case for Caution, recommended a safe level of
metals in soil that was 1/10th that of the Part 503.

A Washington source has it that EPA tried to get the

study withdrawn and the scientists fired. The same source

also has it that the USDA has withdrawn much of Cornell's

financial support for further studies on agriculture.

Fortunately, for the general public, the Cornell

Administration is standing firmly behind the work of these

honest scientists.

These Cornell scientists and others like Dr. Stanford

Tackett, Dr. Donald Lisk of Cornell, Dr. Joseph Maness of

Oklahoma, Dr. Karl Schurr, Dr. Melvin Kramer, and Dr. David

Lewis of the EPA are openly speaking out about the dangers to

the public health and the environment from the use of sewage

sludge. Steve Lester of the CCHW as well as the staff of CCHW

have also voiced their opposition to sludge and given

invaluable assistance to the NSA.

Anger is building as more people learn how they have

been deceived by the EPA/WEF propaganda that has assured them

that sewage sludge with its disease-causing organisms,

dangerous heavy metals, deadly organic chemicals, and in some

cases, radioactive waste, is safe.  Although sludge does

contain pollutants, we have been told we are protected from

them because sewage sludge is regulated and carefully

monitored.  How can this be when most of the states have

refused to take delegation leaving the enforcement and

compliance up to the EPA regions, which claim they lack both

money and personnel for enforcement and compliance.  As a

result, there have been many many violations that have been

causing adverse health effects and environmental damage all

across the country.

More and more people are becoming angry over the extent

of the food and water contamination and its possible

connection to the use of sewage sludge on food crops. This is

having an impact on EPA's regional offices as they are being

besieged by people asking for help, or requesting information

under the Freedom of Information Act--information that has

repeatedly been denied under one pretext or another. When

Helane Shields wrote requesting an FOIA in Oct 16, 1997

concerning information and documents from Oak Ridge National

Laboratory on the ecological risks associated with

land application of municipal sewage sludge, she received a

letter on November 21, 1997 informing her "We are unable to

provide you with the requested records because they are

exempt from mandatory disclosure by virtue of 5 U.S.C. 552

(b) exemption five, deliberative process privilege." If

sludge is as safe as it is touted to be by the EPA, then

there shouldn't have been any ecological risk. Obviously,

this must not be the case, otherwise why the refusal to

supply information about the research that is going on there

and its findings.

In some cases, instead of outright denying FOIA

requests, the EPA has claimed the cost to fulfill the request

is prohibitive. A $42,000 dollar price tag was placed by the

EPA to furnish information on victims on sewage sludge.

Obviously, there have been lots of victims.

Both residents of urban and rural communities across the

country have been reporting illnesses associated with sewage

sludge. In previous chapters we have already reported adverse

health effects from exposure of sewage sludge to rural

residents from the application of sludge on farms and adverse

health effects on the children and other residents in the

South Bronx. Adverse health effects have also been

experienced by residents of communities living near

composting facilities such as Almaden, California in the

West, Islip Township in New York in the East, and Franklin,

Kentucky in the South.  Information on the adverse health

effects suffered by residents in these selected communities

was obtained from personal interviews, correspondence and

newspaper articles.

In a telephone interview concerning the composting of

sludge in Franklin on December 23, 1997, I spoke personally

with Bob Safay of the U. S. Health Department Toxic Substance

and Disease Register who had visited the site; he told me,

"The people had alleged problems, but what else can we do

with it; people don't want landfills."

This is a ploy used by regulators to justify their

spreading of sewage sludge on the land or composting it.

The reason most people have opposed landfills is the fear of

another Love Canal.  They are concerned that they and their

children could be exposed to the contents in the landfill

which could cause adverse health effects.

A comparison of landfilling of sewage sludge with

land application of sewage sludge and sewage sludge sold as a

fertilizer shows the greatest danger to us comes not from

landfilling but from the uncontrolled land application of

sewage sludge and sludge products sold as a fertilizer. The

danger to our health isn't from highly regulated landfills,

which are contained in a small area and covered daily, but

from exposure to poorly regulated and monitored sewage sludge

that is spread over fields where the toxic substances it

contains can volatilize into the air, enter the food supply

and leach into the water.  Unlike landfills, where the

groundwater is monitored, there is no requirement for ground

water monitoring of sludge that is land applied.

Sewage sludge, with its disease-causing organisms,

deadly organic chemicals, dangerous heavy metals and

radioactive materials, poses no danger to us or animals until

we are exposed to it.  More and more we, both human and

animals, are being exposed to it every day.  Sewage sludge

products are now being used in parks, on golf courses,

in forest areas, in highway meridian strips, and cloverleaf

exchanges. It is sold for fertilizer for lawns and gardens,

and applied on fields and pastures.

Although sewage sludge can be disposed of in monofills,

which are only for sewage sludge, many POTWs dispose of their

sewage sludge in co-disposal landfills with solid and

hazardous waste. The fact is that if all sewage sludge was

land applied or sold as a fertilizer, we would still have

landfills because hazardous and solid waste as well as

garbage are disposed of in a landfill.

Co-disposal landfills, gasification, which is used in

Europe and favored by Hugh Kaufman, and incineration, if the

incinerators are redesigned to eliminate harmful emissions of

dioxins and other pollutants, are other viable choices to

replace land application of sewage sludge.  Several options

could be used.  Another possibility is the Clivus Multrum

composting toilet which Abby Rockefeller introduced to the

U.S. in 1972.

With the big push, Biosolids 2000, by EPA/WEF for

nationwide acceptance of sludge for beneficial use, there

will be many many more compost and other sludge processing

facilities. As more POTWs are able to meet the requirements

in the lax Part 503 sludge rule for land application, more

sludge will be produced and offered to farmers as a free

fertilizer.  If you live in the country, your neighbor could

be spreading sludge on his field next to you. You could be

the next Zander, Ruane or Roller.  Your child could be

playing in a park where sludge was used as a fertilizer.  You

could purchase a bag of fertilizer for your lawn or garden,

not knowing it contained sludge or hazardous waste.  There is

no way for you to know since there is no label and the

contents are not disclosed.  You and your family could eat

fruits, vegetables, meat from cattle or other animals

contaminated by the disease and chemical pollutants in sludge

or drink milk from contaminated cows. You could also drink

water contaminated with sludge.

If you become a victim, you will receive no help from

your local, state and federal regulatory agencies, which were

designed to protect public health and the environment,

because they have entered into what amounts to an alliance

with the wastewater industry for the purpose of promoting

sludge as a beneficial product for land applications as a

cheap means of disposal for the sewage treatment plants. Some

well-meaning regulators have been duped by EPA/WEF propaganda

that sludge called biosolids is a nutrient rich product that

can be recycled without any harm to either the public or the


EPA/WEF in their promotion of sewage sludge are

targeting different environmental groups trying to enlist

them as stakeholders in a "divide and conquer" tactic to

defang the opponents of sewage sludge. On page 10 of their

Communication Plan for Biosolids, Powell Tate stated the

value of gaining environmental support. They wrote:

Groups that focus on ocean-related issues, especially,

should be most receptive and may be recruited to help

gain the support of other organizations. Recognizing

that some important groups are troubled by the EPA

regulations, however, we should nevertheless seek to

work with them as closely as possible to keep open

channels of communication.

The EPA/WEF ploy hasn't worked with the Sierra Club who

have been working with Farm Bureau in California and with

Charlotte Hartman of the NSA in New York to stop the land

application of sludge.  More environmental groups need to

become involved like the Sierra Club.  Working together we

could take a giant step to stop the pollution of our air,

water, land, food supply, destruction of ecosystems, and the

extinction of different endangered species.  Preserving our

environment has not been a priority of Congress, in fact,

some congressmen have openly opposed the environmental

movement. Together we could form a formidable lobbying group

with the clout to be heard in the halls of Congress.

Throughout this book, we have made reference time and

again to the work of Dr. Theo Colborn, the expert on

endocrine-disrupting chemicals, especially PCBs and dioxins

which are unregulated in sewage sludge, who has synthesized

the scientific research available on the effects of these

chemicals on the development and function of the human body.

In Our Stolen Future, she and her fellow authors have

graphically demonstrated how already the effects, from

exposure to these endocrine-disrupting chemicals have been

manifested in bizarre and puzzling abnormalities in animal

populations, defective sexual organs, impaired infertility,

and miscarriages, in both animals and humans and the rising

number of children with learning disabilities, attention

deficits, and hyperactivity. They warn us of the terrible

threat to mankind posed by the continued exposure of humans,

animals and wildlife to these dangerous toxic chemicals. They


What we fear most immediately is not extinction, but

the insidious erosion of the human species. We worry

about an invisible loss of human potential. We worry

about the power of hormone-disrupting chemicals to

undermine and alter the characteristics that make us

uniquely human--our behavior, intelligence, and
capacity for social organization.

They add further:

Nothing, however, will be more important to human well-

being and survival than the wisdom to appreciate that

however great our knowledge, our ignorance is also

vast.  In this ignorance we have taken huge risks and

inadvertently gambled with survival. Now, that we know

better, we must have the courage to be cautious, for

the stakes are very high. We owe that much, and more,
to our children.

We owe our children breathable air. No children should

have to attend school gasping for every breathe from daily

attacks of asthma and other respiratory diseases from

breathing foul air laced with an indeterminate mix of

pollutants as did the children in the South Bronx.  Spray

inhalers should not be standard equipment along with books

and other school supplies.

We owe our children uncontaminated food and water. When

they take a drink of water or eat a bite of food, it should

be free from bacteria and viruses and parasites which can

make them acutely ill and from heavy metals like lead and

mercury and cadmium and organic chemicals like PCBs and

dioxins, and pesticides which can wreak havoc on some of

their bodily systems causing irreversible harm, immune system

impairment, learning disabilities, attention deficit,

hyperactivity, and in some cases even death.

We owe our children a safe environment. Children should

have fishable lakes and rivers where they can eat the fish

they catch.  Their waters should be swimmable waters and

their beaches unpolluted.  They should be able to play in

their own yard or the yards of their neighbors or in the park

without inhaling or ingesting metals and organic chemicals

which will make them ill.

More and more people and groups are realizing we have

been ill-used by our government. One of the findings of

Powell Tate's research in July 1993 for EPA/WEF on biosolids

was the "highest level of scorn or distrust is aimed at

elected officials." "Your congressman" is generally seen as

the least credible of the options, with only a few

exceptions, while "your state and local elected officials and

federal, state, and local government agencies" fare only

moderately better.  Sentiments of distrust and lack of

confidence in government are evident throughout the course of
many respondents' interviews."

In Journal of Proceedings of the New Mexico Conference

On The Environment, September 13-15, 1992, published in

February 1993, written before the final Part 503, I

emphasized that the land application of sewage sludge was not

just a farmer's problem although he will be liable for any

damage to humans, animals or the land.  It effects the most

basic needs of each and every one of us--our need for
uncontaminated food, clean water and clean air.  Although

Congress has passed the laws to control the use and disposal

of sewage sludge and given EPA a solid waste statute to

implement and enforce, the EPA, who is suppose to be an

enforcer and regulator is a promoter of land application of

sludge and is in with the wastewater industry, the very ones

they should be regulating.

We can wait no longer to do something--too much damage

has already been done throughout the country to humans,

animals and the environment.  Therefore, it is time that we

as concerned citizens do address the problem of land

application of sludge with its deadly pollutants before more

damage is done to the health of those who work on or live

around these sites and those of us who consume the food

raised there. No action will happen unless we band together

to make it happen because there are powerful forces which are

determined to continue to land apply sludge as a cheap means

of waste disposal even at the cost of lost of valuable land,

and harm to humans and animals.

What you can do:

Read Toxic Sludge is Good for You and

Our Stolen Future

Join environmental groups on the local level and national

level who are fighting the land application of sludge.

Write your Congresspersons telling them to:

1. Eliminate risk assessment and cost benefits--the costs are

always too great

2. Immediately stop the use of toxic sludge as a fertilizer

and demand it be properly disposed of either in a landfill

as required by law or by other safer options

Remove any Congressperson from office who refuses to

listen to you and fails to support strong environmental laws

that will protect you and your children.  These people work

for us--if they want to work for the polluters--let the

polluters pay their salary. Let your voice be heard loud and

clear and work with others to stop this threat. Your vote can

stop the source of the pollution, the action of the

regulatory agencies and in some cases even the Congress


While there is still time, we should pay heed to the

words of Colborn et al., in which they say:

In the interest of the coming generation and those who

follow, we must limit what children are exposed to as

they grow up and keep the toxic burden that women

accumulate in their lifetimes prior to pregnancy as low

as possible.  Children have a right to be born
chemically free.