Chapter Eight


The NRC's fourth point discusses:

(4)  public health concerns about microbiological agents
and toxic chemicals;

According to the NRC report, "Treatment processes

are also available to effectively reduce the

concentration of pathogens in sewage sludge to levels

safe for direct contact.  Some examples include lime

treatment, heat treatment, drying and composing (EPA,

1992b)." (p. 90)

However, the NRC Report also notes that coliform

levels may not be reduced by composting
[and EPA agrees]

.(94) Not only that but, according to the EPA, salmonella is subject to

regrowth within 14 hours after leaving the treatment

plant unless it is incorporated into the soil.  Most

sludges used for fertilizer on crops are treated to a

less stringent level, Class B.

The Report also states, "Reports of the occurrence

of infectious disease transmission linked to the

irrigation of food crops with wastewater are associated

with untreated sewage or
treated wastewater (effluent)

of questionable quality. A recent epidemiological review

of disease transmission from irrigation with reclaimed

water (Shuval, 1990) also concludes that only untreated

wastewater (the effluent wasn't disinfected) has been

implicated in transmission of infectious disease."

(pp.  95) However, sludge site restrictions are also

used as part of the treatment process to reduce

pathogens. (p.  94)

Moreover, they also note, "The infectious disease

agents associated with municipal wastewater (effluent)

and sludge are those found in domestic sanitary waste of

the population and from industries that process meats,

fish and other food products.  
These microbial pathogens

include a large number of bacteria, viruses, and

Important examples are the members of the

bacteria genera Salmonella and shigella; the infectious

hepatitis, Rota and Norwalk viruses; and the parasites

associated with giardiasis, cryptosporidious, taeniasis,

and ascariasis   (See Table 5.1 for a more complete

list) It is reasonable to assume that any or all of

these infectious agents might be present in water and

solids factions of raw sewage." (p. 89)

Might be found in raw sewage? As noted earlier, the

report found the diseases in clean treated effluent and

as well as treated sludge. And, in fact found them in

ground water 27.5 meters below an application site for

clean effluent that would normally be returned to a

river or lake.

Furthermore, the NRC report found,
"Many of the

variables associated with the transmission of infectious

disease from wastewater and sludge are either not well

understood or are unpredictable
." (p. 93-94)

According to the NRC, the answer is in reducing

pathogens through treatment and site management.

While the NRC report does quote part of the Clean

Water act "The intent of the 1987 amendment was to

"adequately protect human health and the environment

from any reasonable anticipated adverse effect of each

pollutant" (Section 405(d)(2)(D), the NRC report does

not quote the EPA version which excludes individual

human health concerns and isolated environmental damage.

"EPA concluded that adequate protection of public health

and the environment did not require the adoption of

standards designed to protect human health or the

environment under exposure conditions that are unlikely

and where effects were not significant or widespread."

(FR. 58, p. 9252)

Furthermore, that statement indicates that as long

as only a few isolated deaths are caused by the sludge

dumping, the dumpers are protected by the
exclusions in

the law and the implied permit provisions of part 503.

Moreover, the courts have even used the public duty

doctrine to say that an individuals health can be

sacrificed for the public good of low cost sludge


And what about the Constitutional right, the

unalienable right to individual "life, liberty and the

pursuit of happiness" of those 501 people the EPA

estimates will be harmed [high blood pressure] by sludge annually?

Since the NRC Committee were aware diseases

associated with sludge disposal are under-reported,

scattered and unrecorded, how could the NRC report

conclude sludge use is safe for use on crops or land?

The NRC Committee were aware the EPA had chosen to

ignore any damages to health or the environment, that

is, except to fund a 1.2 million dollar campaign to

debunk the horror stories concerning the misuse of

sewage sludge as a fertilizer.  (EPA memo's dated 10-17-

1994, 12-29-1994, 2-27-1995 and a press release from the

Water Environmental Federation dated March 15, 1996)

Furthermore, on November 2, 1995, Alan Rubin,

Ph.D., the EPA official in charge of producing the

Sludge Use and Disposal Regulation, claimed in a

memorandum that, "Biosolids that have been land applied

under state and Federal requirements have never been

documented to cause any negative human health or

ecological impact." Yet, HELP FOR SEWAGE VICTIMS, a

national non-profit organization has been asked for help

from people in thirty-four states who have been harmed

by the uncontrolled dumping of sewage sludge.  Moreover,

EPA will not investigate any of these claims of negative

human health or ecological impact. Not only will they

not investigate these claims, but they are funding the

efforts of the Water Environment Federation (WEF) to

debunk these claims. Therefore, the EPA claims it has

not documented any health problem associated with sludge

use.  However, that is not quite true.

One year earlier, on 12-29-1994,
John Walker and

Bob Bastian of the EPA, who were apparently filling in

for Rubin while he was on loan to the WEF, put together


STORY.  They suggested a potential WEF

Writer/Coordinator for this effort.  Their purpose was

to debunk the damage claims of people.  According to

their own Draft, one of the top five stories for the

writer to debunk is, "Tree kill in Washington State with

King Co. METRO biosolids on Weyerhauser land." After

King Co. METRO sludge was dumped on the forest, the

trees died and King Co. METRO was forced to pay for the


Number 2 on the list to debunk is, "
Linda Zander

case -Sick & dead cattle - worker health - Farm Bureau

and Dairy Today stories".

There is additional documentation which confirms

the EPA, WEF, Washington State Ecology Department and

King County Department of Metropolitan Services are

conspiring to destroy the credibility of the Zander

family claim.

Peter Machno is the WEF expert delegated (according

to the EPA memo dated 12-94) to explain away this case.

On February 22, 1993, two State Ecology Representatives

-Al Hanson, Kyle Dorsey and five King County Metro

representatives - Mark Lucas, Carol Ready, Steve

Gilbert, Dan Sturgill and Salley Tenney of the Metro

Legal Services as well as Mel Kemper of the City of

Tacoma, Hal Thurston an Attorney, and four individuals

actually associated with the Zander law suit, met in a

closed meeting to discuss the Zander Case. According to

Keith A. Bode's, Zander Action Summary, the legal cost

will exceed 500,000 dollars.

Before the toxic waste dumping started, the

Zanders, who had operated the dairy farm for 20 years,

had a comfortable life with no major problems they could

anticipate.  They looked forward to a comfortable and

relatively healthy old age.  Within a year after the

Western Services Waste Management began spreading sludge

adjacent to their farm, Linda and Raymond Zander

reported changes occurring in normally healthy dairy

cows.  Some of their herd developed arthritis and a

number of their calves were born with tendon

abnormalities.  Milk production dropped by 17 percent.

Then the cattle started dying.

The Zanders also experienced health problems. While

Linda experienced mycoplasma pneumonia, chemical induced

brain damage, thyroid problems and immune system damage,

Raymond suffers from hypothyroid, lupus and nickel

toxicity.  In addition to their other medical problems,

the Zanders are facing financial problems. They were

forced to declare bankruptcy, when the bank, who is

financing the sludge producers' defense of the suit,

foreclosed on their property.

When Zander started looking for answers, she found

that the Whatcom County Health Department, the very

agency that should have helped her, had approved the

sludge dumping. When she could not get the Whatcom

County Health Department or the State Ecology Department

or the EPA to stop the dumping, she went to Court for an

order to stop the dumping. The Court Order to stop it

was not effective, because it was then dumped at night.

Linda has sued the sludge producers' organization

and the haulers involved with the dumping and the County

Health Department. Since the Zanders filed suit

September 24, 1991 against the producers', haulers and

County, she has been experiencing her own private hell

because there was no one to turn to for help. In fact,

the very agencies that are supposed to help her are

trying to destroy her credibility.  To fight this Linda

has amassed the help of qualified scientists.

Zander started Help for Sewage Victims as a means

of gathering and passing on information concerning the

hazards of sewage sludge dumping.  Help for Sewage

Victims has been very effective in combating the

spreading of sewage sludge.  Zander's story and stories

of others harmed by sewage sludge have been reported in

over 30 newspapers and 4 farming magazines since 1991 as

well as John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton's new book,

TOXIC SLUDGE IS GOOD FOR YOU! (1995) Through Zander's

efforts and the efforts of other tireless workers, the

harmful effects of the EPA's sludge (biosolids)

regulation is coming to light.

Zander's activity has not gone unnoticed by the

EPA, WEF or the sludge producers' association. The

attorney for the defendants in the law suit, Keith A.

Bode, warned the producer organization in the Zander

Action Summary that Zander had identified 18 medical

experts (including physicians, immunologists,

toxicologists, and nutritionists), 9 veterinarians, 2

property valuation/devaluation experts, 3

soil/hydraulic/geologic experts and 1 testing lab who

would testify about the dangers of sewage sludge use to

humans and animals. Bode also warned that there would be

extra-regional impact and "This action must not be

settled".  Bode further warns that, "The public persona

of biosolids is precarious, at best, and each member of

WEF and AMSA can be assured that Zander appears

dedicated to capitalizing on every available opportunity

to publicize her scare story ...  and remember, with

respect to land application, the farming community

comprises less than 2% of the population, so she need

only reach a narrow population to cripple land

application. It is essential that her soapbox be removed

and her credibility challenged before our regional

problem has any more effect (than she has now)

nationally or internationally on land application of


One of the articles written about Zander was

"Sludge under suspicion," by Ed Haag, published in the

Farm Journal, in March, 1992.  According to a letter

dated, May 17, 1996, from PIMA GRO SYSTEMS, INC. to the

Planning Director of Imperial County, Ca., Pima Gro

Systems Director of Technical Services assures Imperial

County that, "the Farm Journal article was retracted by

the magazine itself due to the amount of mis-information

it included." Furthermore, "The Farm Journal

article......  was thoroughly rebutted by Dr.  Terry

Logan, a respected soil scientist from the University of

Ohio and a member of the
peer review committee that

developed the 503 regulation. This rebuttal article is


The rebuttal article, dated April 27, 1992, is

impressive.  Dr. Logan has been, "active in sludge

research and consulting for 15 years."  Not only that

but he, "co-chaired the W-170 Regional Research

Committee of USDA-CSRS that has coordinated research on

sewage sludge in the U.S. for the same period of time."

However, according to Logan, he sympathized " with the

Zanders who were taking advantage of an opportunity to

reduce their input cost and to assist in recycling of

our waste. It was also logical for them to suspect that

sludge was the cause of the observed livestock

disorders." "No data is given, for example, of the metal

analysis of the sludge applied to the Zander land, or

analysis of soil or forage from sludge amended


Apparently, Dr. Logan never even read the article

he was rebutting. No sludge has ever been applied

directly to the Zander land. Furthermore, in spite of

Pima Gro Systems assuring the Imperial County Planning

Director that the Farm Journal article had been

retracted because of Dr. Logan's rebuttal article, as of

July, 11, 1996, Karen Frieberg, Managing Editor of Farm

Journal, states that the Farm Journal has not retracted

the article.

Pima Gro claimed it could only supply enough sludge

for about 8,000 acres at 25 wet/tons an acre. The

National Research Council (NRC) report was referenced by

both sides of the sludge battle in Imperial County.

Furthermore, according to Pima Gro's letter,

"Scientifically. the reuse of biosolids has been proven

safe, effective and beneficial to the soil, crops and

growers." It would appear that Pima Gro Systems was also

wrong on that count. The NRC Report was not designed to

prove sludge was safe for use on crops, it was designed

to evaluate the
EPA risk-assessment standards. However,

it concluded sludge was safe for use on crops based on a

lack of scientifically documented studies.

If sewage sludge is so safe, how could Zander find

so many medical experts to verify the danger of sludge

use and why would Bode be so concerned about the persona

of sludge being precarious, at best? Why would the EPA

need to fund a lobby group to change its image? The

answer to these questions is found in the EPA's own

damaging research.

Number 3 on the list to debunk is, Miami-Dade

County biosolids causing loss of papaya trees on 100

acres of land -$7 million settlement in lawsuits by

Miami-Dade -covered by United Press."

Evidence produced in court, according to an article

in American City & Country, May 1993, showed the sludge

included high levels of fecal streptococci, salmonella

and even a live tapeworm.

The NRC Report notes that the parasites are "quite

resistant to chemical and physical disinfection."

(p. 96) Salmonella, according to the EPA, is subject to

growth within 14 hours after the sludge leaves the

treatment plant, even if it is Class A sludge.

Number 6 on the list to debunk is, "Miniature horse

deaths in Oklahoma."

Number 9 on the list to debunk is,

regrowth during shipment -- Merco." That was the easy

one for the WEF/EPA to debunk in the Biosolids fact

sheet - After the fact, an independent analysis,

"determined that the variations were most likely caused

by inconsistencies in the sampling and analytical

methods at five separate labs conducting the analysis."

Is the WEF/EPA trying to say that six laboratories using

the same EPA specified methodology and procedures can

not come up with the same answer?

Actually it would appear, the EPA is using the

Waste Management, Inc. technique of discounting

laboratory test results, as reported by Robert McClure

and Fred Schulte (News/Sun-Sentinel); "Just how much lab

results vary is difficult to assess. Some industry

experts estimate the testing-error rate as high as 50


EPA records reveal dozens of cases in which Waste

Management insisted -- in a few cases for years -- that

test results showing pollution were simply lab mistakes.

Yet, EPA officials have failed to resolve the

conflicts.  The Agency has the right to conduct its own

tests, but it rarely does.

Because of the EPA's laxity in setting regulations,

"You could kind of expect things to run amok." Said

Steven Sisk, an EPA investigator. "It was bound to.""

(Final Report, San Diego District Attorney, 1992)

Number 10 on the list to debunk is, "Biosolids a

cause of AIDS."

The NRC Report states that Aids doesn't persist in

water.  However, at least one study by Dr.  Shamim A.

Ansari and Dr.  Saeul R.  Farrah has found the AIDS

virus may persist in sewage.  Both proviral and viral

sequences of HIV-1 was found in wastewater samples.

Number 11 on the list is, Biosolids used on ball

fields causing Lou Gehrig's Disease - what it took to

debunk this claim."

That really doesn't sound like a scientific

investigation. What did it take to debunk this claim?

Number 12 on the list to debunk is, "Maryland turf

grass grower crop loss due to biosolids use - involved

grower's use of a highway roller on his fields."

The EPA makes it sound like the turf grower went

out and bought a highway roller to smooth out the sludge

on his field and that was what killed the turf.

Number 13 on the list to debunk is, "Raleigh, NC --

dead cattle from nitrate poisoning due to high nitrogen

content.  Forage was not mixed with other low-nitrate

fodder as advised by the POTW (Public Owned Treatment


In effect, the EPA is saying that the POTW

knowingly sold or gave away contaminated animal fodder

that would cause the death of any animal who ate it, if

it was not diluted with less contaminated fodder.

If the EPA allows contaminated crops to be sold by

POTWs when they know it will harm public health and the

environment, how safe are the crops grown on the 15,600

acre site the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of

Greater Chicago has been operating for 20 years in

Fulton County Illinois?  Sewage sludge is applied at

that site to condition and fertilize strip-mine spoils

to produce crops, such as corn, which are sold as animal

feed or for alternative fuel production,


However, if the corn is sold to an elevator, it

could just as easily become corn meal.  As a general

rule crops grown on sludge amended farms, such as soy

beans or wheat, are sold directly to elevators without

any testing.

Number 14 on the list to debunk is, "BLM (Federal

Bureau of Land Management) policy opposing use of

biosolids on Federal lands: equating its use to

hazardous waste dumping and landfilling raising

SUPERFUND liability concerns." It is clear from the

effort many agencies (both state and federal) are

expending to debunk the Zander and other horror stories

that there is a major problem with the EPA and our

justice system.  If the Zander story was not true and

sludge use was safe, the simple solution would have been

to do the proper testing.  There would have been no need

for Zander to find so many expert witnesses. Nor, would

she have found them, if these qualified state and

federal people had done the test themselves.

It would also appear that at least one Federal

Agency Director understands the serious nature of toxic

pollution from the use of sewage sludge and understands

that it can not be disposed of in a part 503 landfill.

It is clear the BLM did not buy the EPA's beneficial

sludge use policy and understands that at some point,

Rubin, the EPA, and state agencies will have to answer

for the damage they are doing to human health and the


The NRC claims that based on its scientific study,

sludge use on crops is safe. Yet, the NRC Committee did

not review the one human health study (Municipal Sewage

Sludge Application on Ohio Farms: Health Effects) funded

by the EPA and used by the EPA as the ultimate proof of

the safety of sludge. An abstract by a third party is

quoted, and the study is re-titled, Demonstration of

Acceptable Systems for Land Disposal of Sewage Sludge.

According to the NRC report of the third party abstract:

"An epidemiologic study on human exposure to

pathogens in sludge compared health effects in 164

people living on 47 farms which received 2 to 10

tons of sludge per ha per year for three years to

130 people from 45 farms who formed a control

group.  Both study groups were from geologically

matched areas of rural Ohio. Study participants

answered monthly surveys and had annual tuberculin

testing and serological tests of quarterly blood

samples. In addition, monthly surveys included

questions about farm animals' health. It was found

that there were no significant differences in the

health of those living on farms where sludge was

applied compared to the control group with respect

to respiratory or digestive illness or reported

physiological symptoms.  Similarly, no differences

were reported between domestic animals from sludge-

amended versus control farms (Brown et. al,, 1985).

(p. 113)

The NRC report failed to reveal the Ohio study's

finding that, "There have been no previous reported

studies of the human health effect of land application

of treated municipal sewage sludge."

The real question here is, why would the NRC

Committee quote from Brown's abstract, rather than quote

the researchers who actually made the study: Dorn,

Reddy, Lamphere, Gaeuman and Lanese?  The study was

published in, Environmental Research 38, pp. 332-359,


Moreover, it would appear that the NRC writer

failed to read beyond the sixth paragraph of Brown's

abstract.  Brown stated, in the seventh paragraph of the

abstract, "Significantly higher fecal Cd (cadmium)

concentrations in cattle, and significantly higher Cd

and Pb (lead) accumulations were observed in kidney

tissues of calves grazing on sludge-amended pastures."

If the researchers found significantly higher

levels of toxic pollutants in cattle grazing on pastures

with very low sludge application rates, wouldn't the

cattle have had even higher rates of toxic pollutants in

their systems at the agronomical rates recommended by

the EPA?

Furthermore, according to the actual researchers,

by the third year of the study, only thirteen of forty-

seven farms and 53 of the 165 participants remained in

the study. In fact, 35 of the participants were

recruited late and only 20 were counted for a second

year, which would have been the third year of the study.

So, how could monthly surveys, annual tuberculin testing

and quarterly blood samples be done to study

participants for three years who were not there as

claimed in Brown's abstract?

Not only that, but the researchers made it very

clear the study was not to be used in the manner the EPA

and NRC are now using it. In the actual abstract of the

study, the researchers state,
"The absence of observed

human or animal health effects resulting from sludge

application in this study of Ohio farms was associated

with low sludge application rates which were in

accordance with Ohio and U.S.  Environmental Protection

Agency guidelines. (Not current part 503 guidelines)

Caution should be exercised in using these data to

predict health risks associated with sludges containing

higher levels of disease agents and with higher sludge

application rates and larger acreages treated per farm

than used in this study."

According to a recently released EPA fact sheet,

the latest scientific study on sludge dumped at the

128,000 acre sludge ranch at Sierra Blanca, Texas is

also using the same methodology.  Very low application

rates and cattle grazing restricted for two years.

Public perception issues, not health issues, are

the concern of the EPA and the NRC report. As an

example, the NRC report (p.90) listed examples of

pathogens associated with raw domestic sewage sludge and

sewage solids, an incomplete list, that did not include

all of the EPA's acknowledged pathogens known to be in

treated sewage sludge, which were listed in the preamble

to the proposed part 503. (FR. 54, p.  5829)

Not only that, but the NRC Committee even ignored

the EPA's definition of a pollutant:

"- is an organic substance, an inorganic substance,

a combination of organic and inorganic substances,

or a pathogenic organism that after discharge and

upon exposure, ingestion, inhalation, or

assimilation into an organism (human or animal)

either directly from the environment or indirectly

by ingestion through the food chain, could on the

basis of information available to the Administrator

of the EPA, cause death, disease, behavioral

abnormalities, cancer, genetic mutations,

physiological malfunctions, (including malfunction

of reproduction) or physical deformations in either

organisms or offspring of the organisms (babies)."

Part 503.9(t))

Furthermore, the NRC Report acknowledges

cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) is found on sludge

amended soil and that it reduces nitrogen fixation

(p. 77).  They do not acknowledge that cyanobacteria has

been reclassified as the parasite, Cyclospora, and the

first infectious disease outbreak from Cyclospora was

reported in 1990.  Apparently, as with Florida in 1995,

many states are neglecting to report or document disease

outbreaks caused by contaminated food. Medical

scientists are even now searching for the cause of

Cyclospora contaminated strawberries and raspberries.

The EPA's own research has documented the danger to

humans and animals from the pollutants in sludge.

Besides toxic heavy metal, the EPA has established a

primary list of 25 pathogens (family groups) in sewage

sludge which can cause serious damage.  Five pathogens

are bacteria, nine are viruses, five are helminths, Five

are protozoans and one is a fungi.  Most of these

pathogens can be very deadly to humans and animals, the

others will only make you wish you were dead.

The bacteria Campylobacter jejuni and Escherichia

primarily cause a relative mild case of diarrhea, while

Salmonella, shigetla and Vibrio cholerae can lead to


[E. coli 0157:H7 was not a concern at that time and Necrotising (flesh

eating bacteria was just making their appearance felt]

The nine listed viruses are a little misleading,

1) Entroviruses or Picornaviruses actually includes 152

species and includes three of the listed viruses, many

will cause pneumonia [including Necrotising pneumeonia],  2)
Poliovirus (3 species) causes

inflammation of the grey matter of the spinal cord, 3)

Coxsackievirus A (23 species), B (6 species) mostly mild

but can cause inflammation of heart in newborns, 4)

Echovirus (31 species) primarily causes inflammation of

the heart, spinal cord & brain, 5) Hepatitis A virus,

can cause death , 6) Norwalk viruses, 7) Norwalk like

viruses, mostly diseases of the gastrointestinal tract,

8) Reovirus, unknown,  9) Rotavirus, acute


The five Helminths actually produce different

worms such as hookworms, tapeworms and nematode worms.

In humans, the nematode worms may end up in the brain,

retina vessels, liver, lung and heart. The larve cause

hemorrhage, inflammation, necrosis in these tissues.

This causes myocarditis, endophthalmitis, epilepsy or


The five Protozoans; 1) Toxoplasma gondii,

causes pneumonitis, hepatitis and encephalitis, 2)

Balantidium, is mild, 3) Entamoeba histolyca, forms

liver abscess, 4) Giardia lambia, is the cause of severe

intestinal problems, 5) Cryptosporidium, causes

explosive diarrhea and cramps [and death], it was first described in

humans in 1976 [and
infected 400,000 Miluwakee residents in 1993].

The one fungi considered is Aspergillus, it causes

inflamed tissues in bronchi, lungs, aural canal, skin

and membranes of the eye, nose or urethra. It may also

produce mycotic [fungal] nodules in the lungs, liver, kidney and

other organs (FR 54-P.5829 & Tabor's Cylopedic Medical


The NRC Committee did note that the 30 day waiting

period between sludge application and grazing cattle on

the site may not be long enough. There is a possibility

of transmission of animal tape worms to the grazing

cattle. (p. 147)

The NRC Report notes a 1991 study which indicates

that the beef and pork tapeworms ova are of primary

concern to humans as the ova have remained viable for 5

to six months and they were non-viable for another 2 to

4 months in soil. (p. 124)

In the past, the EPA's main concern with toxic

metals has been
Cadmium, a poison which can be taken up

by plants grown on sludge amended soils.  Particularly,

tobacco which can have up to 10 times the soil level of

Cadmium in the leaves. Inhaling cadmium dust and fumes

is very hazardous and will produce pulmonary edema.  It

can cause death or delayed death from acute renal

failure.  Acute renal failure simply means the kidneys

fail to function.  Bacterial toxins can also cause renal

failure.  Cadmium also concentrates in the liver and

kidney of animals.  This could be a major concern for

people who eat liver.

Furthermore, the NRC "Study" assures the public

that Coxsackie Viruses and Echoviruses in sludge only

cause "flu-like" symptoms.  However, according to

Tabor's Cylopedic Medical Dictionary, the (sixty species

`EPA') of the two viruses can also cause inflammation of

the heart, spinal cord and brain.  From a public

perception point of view, it would seem that the health

aspects are a little more serious than "flu-like


Moreover, the study did not address the EPA's

removing the term
toxic pollutant from the regulation,

because, according to the EPA, Congress intended the EPA

to address a broader range of substances than the 126

priority toxic pollutants known to be in sludge.  (FR.

58, p.  9327) If Congress intended for the EPA to

address a broader range of substances than the 126

dangerous priority pollutants, why hasn't the EPA

complied with the intent of Congress?

If the EPA was interested in human health, and not

just in promoting toxic sludge disposal, why did it fail

to regulate the 126 priority toxicity pollutants and

only regulated 10 of the 25 hazardous substances on the

Superfund list? And, in the process blamed Congress for

the EPA's problem of inaction.

Furthermore, the NRC review did not address the 21

known carcinogenic (cancer causing agents) in sludge

listed in the original proposed part 503.  Five of these

agents are listed by the EPA as carcinogenic when

(FR. 54, p. 5777)

In effect, we could expect to find at least five

different types of cancer occurring close to a

beneficial sludge dump site from dust blown off the

site. This type of situation appears to have occurred at

a Kansas City, Missouri beneficial sludge use site.

However, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources

claims that a cluster of cancer cases can be explained

statistically.  Plus, since there were different types

of cancer -- it couldn't be caused by sludge.

Nor did the study note that all of the regulated

hazardous substances
(pollutants) listed in part 503 for

safe use on crops are listed by the National Institute

for Occupational Health (NIOSH) as a poison by

inhalation, ingestion or other routes.  NIOSH also has

data which not only indicates the regulated hazardous

substances in sludge are poisonous, but that they will

cause mutagenic effects.

Yet, the EPA "assumes" the following hazardous

substances and their compounds are safe at the ceiling

level in sludge, when used as a fertilizer and the NRC

Committee appears to agree.  In any other case, the

pollutants are poisons and seven of the regulated

pollutants in sludge will cause mutagenic effects:

Arsenic    (NIOSH CC 4025000) by inhalation or
 Cadmium    (NIOSH EU 9800000) by inhalation
            and other routes-carcinogen-
            mutagenic data.
Chromium   (NIOSH GB 4200005) by inhalation
            and other routes-carcinogen-
            mutagenic data.
 Copper     (NIOSH GL 5325000) by ingestion and
            other routes-carcinogen-mutagenic
 Lead       (NIOSH OF 7525000) by ingestion and
            other routes-carcinogen-mutagenic
 Mercury    (NIOSH OV 4550000) by inhalation
            and other routes-carcinogen-
            mutagenic data.
 Molybdenum (NIOSH QA 4680000) by inhalation,
            ingestion and other routes.
Nickel     (NIOSH QR 5950000) by inhalations,
            ingestion and other routes-
            carcinogen- Mutagenic data.
Selenium   (NIOSH US 7700000) by inhalation
            and other unknown routes-
            carcinogen-(causes blind staggers
            in cattle)
 Zinc       (NIOSH ZG 8600000) by ingestion and
            other routes-carcinogen.

The NRC report did find one potential problem area

with feed corn grown on sludge amended soil for swine.

"Hansen et al., (1976)" ...."did observe elevated levels

of hepatic [liver] mircosomal mixed function oxigase (MFO)

activity. This increased MFO activity may have been

caused by toxic
organics and inorganic trace elements in

sludge, and the authors concluded that further study

should be performed before such grain can be recommended

as the major dietary component for animals over long

periods." (pp. 113) Yet, according to the report, "Few

adverse health effects have been found in studies where

treated sludge and treated effluent were fed directly to

animals." (p.  113)

While overall, the report indicates that plants and

animals will not be harmed by the use of sludge, it did

note a study in which it was observed that commercial

fertilizer application did result in increased plant

tissue levels of some metals and other studies where,

cadmium and other metals do accumulate in the liver and

kidneys of animals.  What happens when people eat the

liver of the contaminated animals?

Moreover, the report notes, "Nonspecific

toxicological testing of whole reclaimed water (clean

effluent) using the Ames Salmonella Microsome Mutagen

Assay and Mammalian Cell Transformation Assay have been

used to indicate the potential of mutagenic [cause  a cell to mutate],

cytotoxic [toxic effect on cells],

and carcinogenic effects on bacterial and mammalian [human]

cells (Nellor et al., 1984) However, "Clevinger et al.,

(1983) performed bioassays on five sludges using the

Ames test and found that none had significant mutagenic

effects." (p. 111-12)

According to these scientists, the toxic pollutants

in sludge have no adverse or mutagenic effects, yet,

adverse and mutagenic effects could be found in clean

effluent from the treatment plant, which is normally

returned to the rivers and lakes, or reclaimed for irrigation

and aquifer [drinking water].recharge

However, different findings using the same test

were explained by J. G. Babish (Cornell) in the Criteria

and Recommendations for Land Applications of Sludges in

the Northeast (Pennsylvania State University, 1985).

When he stated, "any analytical technique employed to

examine the contents of sludge will suffer from a bias--

it can only find what it is set up to detect. This

analytical procedure involves some pre-existing

knowledge of possible contaminates." (p.  55)

Furthermore, according to Babish, "Cornell

University studies (1981) on ambient exposure to

carcinogenic and mutagenic compounds included

evaluations of sewage sludge from 34 American cities---

--only one sample, Dallas Central failed to demonstrate

a dose-related increase in revertants in any of the five

tester strains with or without metabolic activation (S-

9). The other thirty-three sludge samples exhibited a

positive mutagenic response with at least one strain;

twelve of the thirty-three samples were positive with

two or more strains. Seventy-six percent (25/33) of the

positive samples required metabolic activation to

demonstrate mutagenicity,..." (pp.56-57)

Extracts from the Dallas sludge was used as a

possible non-toxic sludge to test for toxicity in mice

versus a Boston sludge which did test positive for

mutagenic effects with metabolic activation.  "Both

treated and control animals exhibited signs of

discomfort immediately after dosing...fifteen to thirty

minutes after dosing, the Boston sludge-treated animals

begin to show sign of effects on the central nervous

system. Orientation was effected to some degree in all

groups as animals rotated repeatedly in both clockwise

and counter-clockwise directions; one animal (dosed at

32.9 mg/kg) turned over continuously for a period of

four to six minutes. Additionally, motor coordination

and gait were adversely affected by the Boston sludge

extract in nearly all the animals."

"Mean time-to-death for Boston sludge extract

ranged from 4.5 to 1.8 days, decreasing with increasing

dose. The same decrease in mean time-to-death with

increasing dose was observed for Dallas sludge extract,

although the range of 3 to 1 day was somewhat

shorter....High-dose groups for both Boston and Dallas

sludge extracts did not consume any food before dying."

(p.60) "Although, the Boston sludge was more toxic, as

demonstrated by LD 50, approximately one-half the Dallas

sludge, both of these sludge extracts would be

considered extremely toxic." (p.60)

However, the most disturbing part of the study was

that, "No gross lesions were observed in any animals

which could be associated with the test materials.

Additionally, no treatment effects were seen in gross or

relative organ weights. Hepatic [liver] cytochrome P-450 levels

were not significantly different from control values."

(61) In effect, there was no documentable evidence

indicated to support the cause of death for the mice.

In effect, a doctor would have said these mice died of

natural causes.

Babish leaves us with a warning, "it is clear that

setting standards of sludge application based on

analytical measurement of one or any number of compounds

is inadequate for protection of public health. Moreover,

the absence of information concerning the organic

constituents of municipal sewage sludge must not be

equated with low risk or safety. Under conditions of

minimal data, maximal risk must be assumed in order to

protect public health." (p. 61)

The NRC report concluded sludge was safe because

there have been no reported outbreaks of infectious

diseases caused by sludge. The question is, who is going

to investigate, and how do they know what they are

investigating. An example is the current infectious

disease outbreak caused by Cyclospora on strawberries

and raspberries. The media reports indicate the

parasites can not be found on the strawberries, or the

plants, or in the fields. Yet, the NRC report documents

that Cyclospora is found on sludge amended cropland as

cyanobacteria (blue-green algae), rather than

Cyclospora.  (p.77)

W. C. Stiles reports in the Criteria and

Recommendations for Land application of Sludges in the

Northeast, Pennsylvania State University, 1985, study

that "Strawberries are low-growing plants, the fruit of

which are subject to contamination resulting from

surface application and splashing of sludge residues, or

splashing of soil (and contaminants as a result of

rainfall and overhead irrigation, and surface runoff

resulting from any of these conditions. Lack of data

concerning the extent and significance of organic

toxicants and/or pathogenic organisms that might

contaminate fruit in this manner prevents a

consideration of the use of sewage sludge in strawberry

production.....No sewage sludge should be applied to a

vineyard until the significance of the  heavy metals and

organic toxicants has been thoroughly evaluated.

Brambles (raspberries, blackberries) and bush fruits

(currants, elderberries, gooseberries) present problems

and concerns similar to those indicated for strawberries

and grapes." (p, 34)

The NRC report states, "There is a great diversity

of pathogenic agents involved in the fecal-oral exposure

route, and an equal diversity of the dose-response

relationships. Monitoring for all these agents is

impractical; therefore, the use of indicator organisms

has been the traditional approach to estimating sanitary

quality. Coliform bacteria have been the most used in

this regard...(however, they)...may not adequately

predict the present of viruses, protozoa or helmiths.

Many enteric viruses, for example, have a greater

resistance to chemical disinfection and irriation than

do most bacterial indicators.....There are instances in

sludge processing, such as
composting, in which the

coliform levels can not be satisfactorily reduced even

though there is reason to believe that the sanitary

level of the material is acceptable (EPA, 1992b;...Many

of the parasites of concern exist in the encysted stage

outside the human or animal intestinal track, and are

quite resistant to chemical and physical disinfection in

this form. Wastewater reclamation practice relies on the

treatment process to control these parasites.  Parasites

ova and cysts concentrate in sewage sludge and thus are

of most concern for land application of sludge." (p. 94)

They point out the problems, but claim they can be

taken care of by pretreatment, alternate schemes, and

management of the application site. They do not address


"This (pathogen) reduction can be achieved by

treatment prior to land application or, as an

alternative scheme in the case of sludge and reclaimed

water of lower sanitary quality, crop restrictions and

management of the application site to restrict human and

grazing animal contact during the time required for

pathogens to decay to acceptable levels." (p. 96-97)

"When sludge is applied to land, inactivation of the

remaining pathogenic organisms and viruses continues,

biological stabilization of residual organic material

progress, and biologically-mediated and abiotic chemical

transformations occur." (p. 51)

In effect, pathogens, viruses and parasites can be

washed into the streams and lakes as well as be carried

into the water by poorly treated effluent. Yet, this is

seldom, if ever documented any more.

An example of why the NRC report could find no

reported outbreaks of infectious diseases associated

with sludge was recently given by the CDC who explained

an out break of fecal bacteria-caused diarrhea in

children who swam in a lake near Rockford, Il. and a

gastroentritis outbreak among children at a day camp in

Florida. The CDC explained that swimming in

unchlorinated water can be hazardous to health and the

Florida contamination incident probable occurred at the

nozzle of the hose which was used to fill coolers.

The question is, how much damage to human health in

isolated or scattered locations must be done before the

public health authorities get involved? An indication of

the level of damage that must be done before an

investigation is justified is the Texas Neural Tube

Defect Project (TNTDP).  The EPA and CDC are now funding

a study of Neural Tube Defect births (the brain is

outside the body) along the length of the Rio Grande

River because of the high incident rate there.

While sludge or the clean water effluent may not

have anything to do with this particular problem, the

EPA and TNTDP have identified: arsenic, lead, mercury,

nitrates, nitrophenols, and polychorinated biphenyls as

a major concern of the study.  All the pollutants are in

sludge, and according to the NRC report, will not cause

any major damages, except for those 5 to 10 percent of

the sludges used as a fertilizer that would exceed the

EPA's risk based exposure assessment level for four

organic pollutants, "PCBs, benzo(a)pyrene,

hexachlorobenzene and N-Nitrosodimethylamine".

In fact, "for N-Nitrosodimethylamine the APLR

calculations using the 50th percentile concentration is

above the exposure assessment APLR. This pollutant was

eliminated because it was detected in less than 5

percent of the samples." (p.136)  That translates into

roughly 800 to a 1,000 treatment plants and their sludge

dumps sites where the public is at risk.

Not only that, but TNTDP intends to evaluate the

possible connection between agricultural chemicals used

and industrial contaminates emitted within a given

radius of the residential locations.

The question is, why didn't the NRC scientist note

that these same chemicals, plus many more, could be a

major concern for farm families within a given radius of

a sludge dump?

Furthermore, the NRC Committee apparently had ignored

the EPA's research in the preamble to part 503 when it

made the statement; "Based upon pathogen reduction

criteria, the Rule divides sludge into two categories,

Class A (safe for direct contact) and Class B (land and

crop restrictions apply).  Class A sewage sludge can be

used in an unrestricted manner." (p. 122)

But, can all class A sludge be used in an

unrestricted manner? According to the preamble to the

final part 503, there is a problem, "The vector

attraction reduction requirement concerning

incorporation of sewage sludge into the soil also

requires that sewage sludge that is Class A with respect

to pathogens be applied to or placed on the land within

eight hours after being discharged from the pathogen

treatment process. After that, the sewage sludge must be

incorporated into the soil within six hours after being

applied (beneficial use) or placed (disposed of) on the

land.  The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that

regrowth of Salmonelle sp. bacteria do not occur between

the time the sewage sludge is discharged from the

pathogen process and the time the sewage sludge is

applied or placed on the land." (FR. 58, p. 9353, 9401,

part 503.33(9)(iii)(10)(i)(ii)  [This was removed from the regulation]

Yet, according to the EPA's restrictions for Class

B sludge, that doesn't happen for the more dangerous

material: (ii) Food crops with harvested parts below the

surface of the land shall not be harvested for 20 months

after application of sewage sludge when the sewage

sludge remains on the land surface for four months or

longer prior to incorporation into the soil.  Yet, low

public traffic and animals are only restricted from the

site for 30 days after the sludge is applied [and that section

has been  
added for food crops].  And,

crops with parts that do not touch the ground can be

harvested after 30 days.  However, when the same sludge

is used on a turf farm, the turf can not be harvested

for one year.  (503.32(5)) There appears to be a major

problem here, when you can eat the food crop after 30

days, but you can not walk on the grass for one year?

Another example of the risk management choices the

EPA made is for lead.  According to the preamble to the

regulation, "The IUBK Model resulted in an allowed risk

level of lead in sludge, where children might ingest it,

of 500 ppm.  The EPA thought it would be safer for

children to set the allowed limit of lead in sludge at

300 ppm. This was based on the Peer Review findings that

the body burden of lead in cattle did not change until

the lead in sewage sludge exceeded 300 ppm and it was

consistent with the sludge quality of all but a few

public owned treatment works."  (FR.  58, p.9286)

However, even though the EPA stated the Peer Group

research in the preamble to the final Part 503

regulation, it raised the allowed lead limits in sludge

to 840 ppm. (Part 503.13-Table 1 - FR. 58, p. 9392)

Since the pollutants in sludge are known by the EPA

to cause death and since the EPA promotes the

unregulated use of sludge, wouldn't a death caused by

sludge dumping on farmland be a criminal act of


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Review of National Academy of Science's (NAS) 1996 literary review report by
its National Research Council (NRC) Committee :

"Use of Reclaimed Water and Sludge in Food Crop Production"