RECYCLING DEATH THROUGH POLLUTANTS IN SEWAGE SLUDGE/BIOSOLIDS
This paper is a brief overview of the sewage sludge/biosolids science which shows EPA has long been aware of the deadly pollutants (infectious disease causing pathogenic microorganisms and chemicals) in sewage sludge/biosolids which will not only destroy human health and the environment, but also affect our health through animals and plants. EPA has known for a very long time that as pathogenic organisms pass from humans to sewage to sludge/biosolids to plants and animals and back to humans, genes are transferred to transform them into more deadly biological toxin producing multi-drug resistant disease causing organisms. Some of these disease causing organisms not only create enterotoxins (toxic to the intestinal tract), they create exotoxins (toxic shock -food poisonng) , and neurotoxins (acts on nerve cells) while they are alive, but, in death many organisms create endotoxins (toxic hemorrhagic shock-antigenic response) which when inhaled in dust can be extremely deadly. On top of that, mycotoxins (damage lungs and liver) from fungi must be contended with by farmers using sludge/biosolids and those who are exposed to compost at home, in parks and on school grounds. Yet, after 25 years of promoting sewage sludge/biosolids as a safe fertilizer for food crops and thirteen years of promoting sludge as a Class A fertilizer for use at home, in parks and on school grounds, EPA scientists and their associates now want us to believe they know little about the destructive nature of pathogenic organisms in sludge/biosolids or the toxins produced by the disease causing organisms in sludge and their affect on humans, animals, and the environment.
According to CDC, Biological Toxins. Biological toxins (also referred to as biotoxins) are nonliving toxic proteins that are naturally produced by many different types of living organisms. Biotoxins are:
Thousands of times more toxic by mass than chemical warfare agents. (66)
An enterotoxin is a toxin which causes food poisoning, It is released by a micro-organism in the lower Intestine. The enterotoxin alters the permeability of the intestinal wall. This causes water and electrolytes to leak into the intestinal tract, causing diarrhoea. Examples of organisms secreting enterotoxins are: Aeromonas species, Bacillus species, Escherichia coli, Clostridium perfringens [also causes gas gangrene], Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, Vibrio cholerae, and Yersinia enterocolitica
According to Clare K. Schmitt, et al., Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, "Many bacterial exotoxins have the capacity to damage the extracellular matrix or the plasma membrane of eukaryotic cells. The damage not only may result in the direct lysis [death] of cells but also can facilitate bacterial spread through tissues. Toxins that mediate this cellular damage do so by either enzymatic hydrolysis or pore formation. Bacterial hyaluronidases, collagenases, and phospholipases have the capacity to degrade cellular membranes or matrices. Specific examples of these types of toxins include the -toxin of Clostridium perfringens [causes gas gangrene -flesh eating bacteria] , which has phospholipase C activity; Streptococcus pyogenes streptokinase, which can hydrolyze plasminogen to plasmin and dissolve clots; and the clostridial collagenases. Pore-forming toxins, as the name suggests, disrupt the selective influx and efflux of ions across the plasma membrane by inserting a transmembrane pore. This group of toxins includes the RTX (repeats in toxin) toxins from gram-negative bacteria, streptolysin O produced by S. pyogenes, and the S. aureus - toxin."
Schmit said, "S. aureus -toxin can be considered the prototype of oligomerizing pore-forming cytotoxins. The -toxin gene resides as a single copy on the chromosome of most pathogenic S. aureus strains, and its expression is environmentally regulated at the transcriptional level by the staphylococcal accessory gene regulator (agr) locus. The -toxin is synthesized as a 319 amino acid precursor molecule that contains an N-terminal signal sequence of 26 amino acids. The secreted mature toxin, or protomer, is a hydrophilic molecule that lacks cysteine residues and has a molecular mass of approximately 33 kDa. Recently, the crystallographic structure of the fully assembled -toxin pore was solved. On the plasma membrane, seven toxin protomers assemble to form a 232 kDa mushroom-shaped heptamer comprising three distinct domains (Figure 1A). The cap and rim domains of the -toxin heptamer are situated at the surface of the plasma membrane, while the stem domain serves as the transmembrane channel."(66)
It has taken a while for the public to discover that toxin producing genes (DNA/RNA) can be transferred from one organism to another. However, that has not been the case for scientists.
According to Robert Miller, department of microbiology and molecular genetics at Oklahoma State University, "The study of gene transfer among bacteria began in 1928, when British bacteriologist Frederick Griffith observed that nonvirulent pneumococcal (nonpathogenic) bacteria became virulent (pathogenic) when injected into mice along with dead virulent pneumococcus. Griffith concluded that the initially nonvirulent bacteria picked up a "" agent from the dead virulent bacteria and thus became potent enough to kill the mice."(46)
According to a modified wikipedia definition, Neurotoxicity occurs when the exposure to natural or manmade toxic substances [chemicals] (neurotoxicants) alters the normal activity of the nervous system. This can eventually disrupt or even kill neurons, key cells that transmit and process signals in the brain and other parts of the nervous system. Neurotoxicity can result from exposure to [toxic] substances used in chemotherapy, radiation treatment, drug therapies and organ transplants, as well as exposure to heavy metals such as lead and mercury, certain foods and food additives, pesticides, industrial and/or cleaning solvents, cosmetics, and some naturally occurring substances [pathogenic toxins]. Symptoms may appear immediately after exposure or be delayed. They may include limb weakness or numbness, loss of memory, vision, and/or intellect, headache, cognitive and behavioral problems and sexual dysfunction. Individuals with certain disorders may be especially vulnerable to neurotoxicants.
According to CDC, "Endotoxins are a combination of lipid (lipid A) and polysaccharide side chains and are integral components of the outer membrane of gram negative bacteria. Endotoxins are released into the surrounding environment during active cell growth or breakdown (lysis), or when bacterial cells are engulfed by immune cells called phagocytes."
Endotoxins have been known to cause profound inflammation of any tissue exposed to them, including lung tissue. "Exposure to endotoxins causes an influx of inflammatory cells into the lungs," says NIOSH immunologist Stephen A. Olenchock. "They bring with them and they release various agents called cytokines, which cause swelling, exudate, or seepage, from blood vessels. These are very potent inflammatory agents."
Occupational inhalation of endotoxins induces fever and constriction of airways. According to Castranova, endotoxins tend to upregulate the activity of lung phagocytes, encouraging pulmonary inflammation. "Many studies seem to show that if you put lung phagocytes in a test tube and add endotoxin, not much happens," he explains. "But if you add endotoxin and then add a second stimulus, the [phagocytic] response to that second stimulus is greater than if the endotoxin weren't there. The second stimulus could be the dust, the particulate matter." Initially, the response to endotoxin may seem to be allergic. But unlike allergy, the active component is lipid A, and not an antigenic protein. "This is not an allergy at all," Olenchock explains. "Allergy involves a type of antibody associated with a specific antigen. Here, there is an absence of antibody. Endotoxins activate the complement system, which causes inflammation and then removal of foreign agents." (67)
SALMONELLA ENDOTOXIN -- CASE STUDY OF A LABORATORY WORKER
A laboratory worker was contaminated with 10 microgram Salmonella minnesota S-LPS through an open wound. One hour later she showed first signs of illness (fever, flu-like-symptoms, dyspnoea, headache, nausea, vomiting). Three weeks after her accident she experienced neurological problems (generalized cramps, disturbances of sensibility, myalgia, tremor, difficulties in learning etc.). The LPS damaged and disrupted the blood-brain barrier. The LPS caused damages of the cerebral cortex which are proved by positron emission tomography (PET). The LPS, intercalating in the neuronal membrane, elicited a chronic inflammation of the central nervous system. More than four years later the LPS began to release from the neurons by the treatment with the quinolone ofloxacin. The patient was better then but one year later the inflammation of the CNS turns back very heavily. The result of a LAL-test for the CSF was 6600 pg LPS / ml after a dose of 400 mg ofloxacin ten hour before the spinal tap. (22)
According to Wikipedia, Major groups of toxins include: Aflatoxins produced by Aspergillus species, they are largely associated with commodities produced in the tropics and sub-tropics, such as groundnuts, other edible nuts, figs, spices and maize. Alflatoxin B1, the most toxic, is a potent carcinogen and has been associated with liver cancer.
Ochratoxin A is produced by Penicillium verrucosum, which is generally associated with temperate climates, and Aspergillus species which grows in warm humid conditions. Aspergillus ochraceus is found as a contaminant of a wide range of commodities including cereals and their products, fruit and a wide range of beverages and spices. Aspergillus carbonarius is the other main species associated in warm humid conditions found mainly on vine fruit and dried vine products particularly in the Mediterranean basin. It causes kidney damage in humans and is a potential carcinogen.
Patulin is associated with a range of fungal species and is found in moldy fruits, vegetables, cereals and other foods. It is destroyed by fermentation and so is not found in alcoholic drinks. It may be carcinogenic and is reported to damage the immune system and nervous systems in animals.
Fusarium toxins are produced by several species of the genus Fusarium which infect the grain of developing cereals such as wheat and maize. They include a range of mycotoxins including the fumonisins, which affect the nervous systems of horses and cause cancer in rodents, the trichothecenes, including deoxynivalenol, and zearalenone, the last two of which are very stable and can survive cooking. The trichothecenes are acutely toxic to humans, causing sickness and diarrhea and potentially death.
In 1978, Burge and Marsh found, "Human diseases associated with land application of sludge, pathogen movement, pathogen viability, and disinfection are discussed in a literature review. Common infectious pathogens found in sewage include bacteria, protozoa, helminthic parasites , and viruses. Outbreaks of the diseases associated with forms of these pathogens have been directly traced to irrigation practices of sewage sludge, domestic wastes, and treated waste water disposal. Contamination of water supplies and consumption of raw vegetables and shellfish grown in the presence of sewage are the major means of transfer of sewage-related diseases to humans."(51)
In a 1979 study, Marsh and Millner(USDA) said, "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."(20)
Edwards JH., Organic dust diseases and endotoxins, 1981, writes, "On the basis of available information it is not justifiable to conclude that endotoxins are responsible for extrinsic allergic alveolitis by biological activities that are associated with endotoxin properties per se. Endotoxin-like material has been found in materials associated with byssinosis, farmer's lung and sewage sludge disease and a case for their involvement in the aetiology of byssinosis and sewage sludge disease can be made out. However, endotoxin-like activity in farmer's lung is less important than the hypersensitivity reaction except possibly where heavy doses of mouldy hay dust are inhaled." (50)
By 1986 Australia had enough information to make the connection that endotoxin in sewage sludge was an antigen which caused extrinsic allergic alveolitis. Since then Canada has agread that endotoxins from heat dried sludge causes extrinsic allergic alveolitis and it is called sewage sludge disease. (52).(53)
In a 1982 EPA study, M. C. Meckes' noted, "In 1959, Wantanabe (31) discovered that some Escherichia coli strains could transfer antibiotic-senstive strains of shigella spp. Subsequent research has demonstrated that bacteria carrying transmissible R-factors (DNA/RNA) are responsible for the spread of multiple antibiotic resistence among members members of the Entero-bacteriaceae (such as E. coli, Samonella typi, and Shigella dysenteriae) Aeromonas and Yersinis species (4), Pseudomonas, and Vibro cholerae (34),"(35)
The University of Wisconsin VetMed Center notes, "The O157:H7 strain is distinguished microbiologically from other E. coli by its inability to ferment sorbitol and, most importantly, by its production of "shiga-like" toxins (SLT I and II). (SLTs were so named because of their similarity to the toxin of Shigella- 5 receptor binding B subunits and one active A subunit create a holotoxin.)"
The VetMed Center also notes, "Shiga-like toxins damage vascular endothelium in people, leading to thrombotic lesions and DIC (DIC is a disorder of the "clotting cascade." It results in depletion of clotting factors in the blood). . (This does not occur in cattle because they lack the toxin receptors in their blood vessels.) The HUS syndrome ( Hemolytic-Uremic Syndrome = kidney failure) probably reflects the same basic process, with thrombotic lesions in the kidneys. Of importance is the fact the O157:H7 is by no means the only serotype of E. coli that can produce these toxins and cause disease." (36)
Scientists at Cornell were the first to demonstrate just how deadly the toxins in sludge could be to living organisms. EPA sludge scientists ignored cornell's research then, just as they continue to ignore current (2006) Cornell research which exposes EPA's complete disregard for human health and the environment.
According to Babish, "Cornell University studies (1981-85) 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 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) ,(31)
In 1986, Dr. Charles Gerba, University of Arizona, in his work, Development of a Qualitative Pathogen Risk Assessment Methodology for Municipal Sludge Landfilling, noted that a study by: "Hess and Breer (1975) reported that samonellae on grass treated with sludge could survive for a little less than 16 months in the climate of Switzerland, but most reported times are shorter."
According to Gerba, "Municipal sludges are known to contain microorganism capable of causing serious illness and mortality in humans (Evans, 1982). Many of these organisms are responsible for waterborne disease in the United States today (Craun, 1986). The number of documented case of waterbornes disease in the United States has been on the increase for almost two decades (Craun, 1986); contaminated groundwater is responsible for almost half of the outbreaks each year (Keswick and Gerba, 1980). Enteric pathogens are the most common cause of food and waterborne illness in the United States today (NRC, 1985; Craun, 1986)."
Furthermore, he adds, "Solids-associated viruses in sludge have been shown to be infectious, well protected and able to survive longer in the environment that free-living viruses in water and wastewater (Gerba, 1984a). Most available information describes viral survival in soil alone, rather than survival in a sludge-soil matrix".
Gerba does not mention viable but nondetectable bacteria, but he does note the potential for regrowth. He said, "In the case of indicator bacteria such as coliforms and fecal coliforms, regrowth may occur in buried sludges (Donnelly and Scarpino, 1984)."
In conclusion he said, "To determine risks associated with landfilling of sludge, it is necessary to be able to predict pathogen survival." (10)
Gerba reported in this study that there were 1-2 million food poisoning incidents annually. However, many cases of alledged food poisoning may be the result of direct exposure to sludge/biosolids on home lawns, gardens, parks and school grounds. By 1990 there were about 6.5 million cases. This figure jumped to 80 million cases in 1997 when CDC quit counting and settled on 78 million cases annually.
As early as 1988, Yanko noted in his Distribution and Marketing study on sludge compost for EPA, "Although the use of sludge as a soil amendment is attractive, it is not without potential health risk. He said, "Pathogenic mircooganisms present in sewage and the resulting sludges [E. coli (pathogenic strains), salmonella sp. Campylobacter jejuni, Yersinia, enterocolitica, Lepotospira spp.,Shigella spp. and vibrio cholerae] increase the potential for disease transmission." He futher states, "Salmonellosis outbreaks that may have been initiated by infectious doses as low as 10-100 cells have been described in the literature. It would certainly appear imprudent to overlook moderate salmoneeae populations because of "convential wisdom" concerning infective doses."
According to Yanko, "The relative public health risk associated with the beneficial use of sludge is directly related to the extent of public exposure.----risks increases if the sludge is used on food crops or public access areas. ---The routes of exposure may take various forms, including handwork in gardens and eating uncooked vegetables, grown in sludge amended soils---Perhaps at the highest risk of ingesting pathogenic organisms are the very young children playing in yards and gardens that have been treated with sludge products."
Yanko warned of the danger posed by fungi found in compost, "such as certain specious of Candida. Cryptocuccus and Trichosporon, and PATHOGENIC members of some filamentous genera, such as Aspergillus, Phialophora, Geotrichum, Trichophyton, and Epidermophyton." Also, "Parasitic infections present a potential health risk associated with home use of sludge due to the existence of highly resistant stages of the organisms and low infectious doses." (41)
According to an email dated, 1 Jun 2006, EPA's Bob Bastian recently questioned Yanko about the possibility of the Black Plague strain of Yersinia being included in the 1988 study of Class A sludge/biosolids compost. According to Bastian, Yanko responded:
"Virulence, or pathogenicity of YE [Yersinia] is controlled by genetic factors not readily discernible by conventional culture-based test methods. We sent a number (28) of the YE isolates from one of the facilities exhibiting high wintertime YE concentrations to the New York State Health Dept. Lab. There was a YE expert there who did intensive testing on these isolates for pathogenicity markers. This was complex and expensive testing. Most of these isolates were serologically non-groupable, that is they did not react with antisera for known pathogenic strains. None of these 28 randomly selected isolates were shown to be virulent strains. This would suggest that the YE we saw proliferating in sludges during winter in cold climate areas were predominantly environmental strains, and not pathogens. That generally makes sense, however, as noted, we did the intensive testing for virulence markers on 28 isolates, and we were measuring peak YE concentrations in the 1E+04 to 1E+06 MPN per gram range. So I wouldn't go too far out on a limb saying this study provided definitive proof there were no pathogenic strains present. This is a question that could be better addressed today with molecular test methods."
In the proposed 1989 part 257/503 guidelines, EPA didn't list all of the pathogens Yanko found. EPA only documented "a list of 25 primary [families of] pathogens in [its proposed sewage sludge rules]. Among these were: 1) five bacteria pathogens (Campylobacter, Escherichia, Salmonella, Shigella, and Vibrio Cholerae), 2) nine virus pathogens (Entroviruses, Poliovirus, Coxsackieviruses, Echovirus, Hepatitis A, Norwalk and Norwalk like viruses, Reovirus, and Rotavirus), 3) five helminth pathogens (among them are Hookworms, Tapeworms, and Nematode worms), 4) five protozoans pathogens (Toxoplasma gondii, Balantidium, Entamoeba histolyca, Giardia lambia, and Crytosporidium), and 5) one fungi pathogen (Aspergillus)."
The bacteria groups Campylobacter jejuni, E. coli, Salmonella, Shigella and Vibrio cholerae cause abdominal cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, chills, malaise, nausea, headache; Salmonella, Shigella and E. coli infection can lead to death. Listeria may be even more deadly, but like E. Coli, it was not considered to be a problem in 1989.
Among the over 120 different viruses are: 1)Entroviruses or Picornaviruses (152 species); many of these will cause pneumonia, 2) Poliovirus (3 species) causes paralysis, meningitis, fever, 3) Coxsackievirus A (23 species) causes respiratory illness, fever, meningitis; Coxsackievirus B (6 species) causes same symptoms as A and in addition myocarditis, congenital heart anomalies and inflammation of heart in newborns, 4) Echovirus (31 species) causes inflammation of the heart, spinal cord & brain, 5) Hepatitis A virus can cause death , 6) Norwalk and Norwalk like viruses cause mostly diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, 8) Reovirus, unknown, and 9) Rotavirus causes acute gastroenteritis.
The five Helminths include worms such as roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms and nematode worms. In humans, the worms may end up in the brain where they are untreatable, as well as in the retina vessels, liver, lung and heart. The larve cause hemorrhage, inflammation, necrosis in these tissues. This causes myocarditis, endophthalmitis, epilepsy or encephalitis.
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; it was first described in humans in 1976 [and infected 400,000 in Milwaukee in 1993}
The one fungi considered by EPA was the deadly Aspergillus; it causes inflamed tissues in bronchi, lungs, aural canal, skin and membranes of the eye, nose or urethra. It may also produce mycotic nodules in the lungs, liver, kidney and other organs (FR 54-P.5829 & Tabor's Cylopedic Medical Dictionary, 1990). (30) (5)
EPA made no mention of these pathogens in the final sludge disposal guidelines or the 21 known cancer causing chemicals in sludge listed in the proposed sludge rules. In fact EPA only addressed the 10 metals under the sludge rules for which treatment plants were authorized to issue removal credits under 40 CFR 403.
However, in 1993, EPA said, by definition, all of these "pathogenic organism[s] that, after discharge and upon exposure, ingestion, inhalation, or assimilation into an organism [like humans] either directly from the environment or indirectly by ingestion through the food chain, could cause death, disease, behavioral abnormalities, cancer, genetic mutations, physiological malfunctions (including malfunction in reproduction), or physical deformations in either organisms or offspring of the organisms." While the definition is based loosely on that for toxic pollutant in the Clean Water Act, EPA said, this definition is based on "information available to the Administrator of EPA" (6)
The term organism as used by EPA is best explained in Science for All Americans, "Many of the characteristics of the human organism covered in this chapter are common to all mammals, or all animals, or all life forms. They are presented in a human context because that is easiest to learn for most students." (7)
By 1989, Invasive group A streptococcal, Staphylococcus (MRSA), Clostridium, and E. coli 157 were just begining their deadly transformation through the wastewater treatment plants. Only a few people had died from these pathogenic sludge pollutants during the 1980s. In the past 15 years, Invasive group A streptococcal, Staphylococcus, Clostridium, (Necrotizing Fasciitis), and E. coli 157 have become epidemic. (25)
SURVIVAL OF DISEASE CAUSING ORGANISMS
D. Strauch in his 1991 paper, "Survival of pathogenic micro-organisms and parasite in extreta, manure and sewage sludge" reported that two groups of researchers had found that pathogenic disease organisms will be taken up inside the food crops. In other words, it will do little good to wash the outside of fresh vegetables and fruit when the pathogenic bacteria, viruses and worms from the sludge can be inside the plant. Strauch concluded in his report that, "In any case, the agricultural utilization of hygienically dubious sewage sludge poses a risk for the whole national economy."
According to D. Strauch, who is with the Institute of Animal Medicine and Hygiene, University of Hohenhiem, Salmonella has survived in forest stands between 424 and 820 days. It appears that in spite of EPA claims to the contrary not only is it not safe to harvest any food or feed crops 30 days after sludge has been used, it's not safe to grow crops on pollutant contaminated soil a year after sludge has been applied.
Strauch said, "most pathogenic agents can survive the treatment process" and the sewage treatment process causes some of the pathogenic disease organisms to be absorbed or enclosed in faecal particles during the treatment process. "Therefore," according to Strauch, "sewage sludge is rightly described as a concentration of pathogens." (54)
"According to EPA's David Lewis (1996), standard test methods underestimate the number of water repellant contaminates. In looking at the aids virus found on medical and dental tools, Lewis discovered that the HIV virus, when it was covered with a water repellant lubricant such as silicone, was still infectious after several days. The water repellant lubricants such as silicon and petroleum products cover the pathogens and prevent them from being found by standard test methods. It was only when he dissolved the lubricants with acetone or other solvents, that the pathogens showed up in tests. "Body fluids also break down the lubricants surrounding the contaminates," he said. Lewis has brought these facts to the attention of the Food and Drug Administration who is supposed to be setting up a committee to study the problem.
"The problem of pathogen detection in sludge, according to Lewis, "is that the sewage treatment process changes the outside crust of the aggregates in sludge and only the pathogens on the outside of the aggregates are measured by standard tests." He says that most of the microbes are trapped inside the aggregates. When ultrasound was used to break open the aggregates of sludge the trapped microbes were revealed. In effect, it appears that the treatment processes hide most of the pathogens rather than destroying them." (55),
"Straub, Pepper and Gerba say that the list of pathogens are not constant but keep changing: As advances in analytical techniques and changes in society have occurred, new pathogens are recognized and the significance of well-known ones change. Microorganisms are subject to mutation and evolution, allowing for adaptation to changes in the environment. In addition, many pathogens are viable but nonculturable by current techniques (Rozak and Colwell 1987), and actual concentrations in sludge are probably underestimated.(p. 58)"
"They add further:
Thus, no assessment of the risks associated with the land application of sewage sludge can ever be considered complete when dealing with microorganisms. As new agents are discovered and a greater understanding of their ecology is developed, we must be willing to reevaluate previous assumptions. (p. 58)" (55)
"According to the article "Pathogen Destruction and Biosolids Composting" in Biocycle of June of 1996, "There is some evidence that coliforms and Salmonella sp. can survive prolonged exposure to temperatures of 55 C." They cite a study done by Droffner and Brinton (1995) using DNA gene probes, where they detected E. coli and Salmonella sp. in samples collected from an in-vessel composting facility after the first 15 days of active composting at a temperature above 55 C. In Table 5-4 Processes to Further Reduce Pathogens in A Plain English Guide to the EPA Part 503 Biosolids Rule, composting time and temperature requirements for within-vessel composting method was 55 C or higher for three days! Droffner and Brinton found that it took 56 days and 90 days for the densities of Salmonella sp. and E. Coli, respectively, to decline below the detection limit...These investigators also "cite evidence of mutant strains of E. coli and Salmonella sp. resistant to thermal environments in composting." (p. 68)"(55)
In 1996, "the NRC Report "Use of Reclaimed Water and Sludge in Food Crop Production", 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. Medical scientists are even now searching for the cause of Cyclospora contaminated strawberries and raspberries."
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".
"The NRC report also reported, "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)"
"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 [$100 million in costs] or widespread." (FR. 58, p. 9252)"
"The NRC claims that based on its scientific study, sludge use on crops is safe. Yet, the NRC Committee did not review the one incomplete 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."
Instead, "An abstract by a third party is quoted, and the abstract of the incomplete study is re-titled, Demonstration of Acceptable Systems for Land Disposal of Sewage Sludge. According to the NRC report, the third party abstract: was a completed three year study:
"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 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, 1985." (31),
"Not only that, but the original study authors [Dorn, Reddy, Lamphere, Gaeuman and Lanese] 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 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."
In their study in 1997, Gibbs et al., reported " In a soil amendment trial biosolids were mixed with sandy soil and monitored for 37 weeks. In two storage trials biosolids were stored in piles 1m high and monitored for <60 weeks. Included in the monitoring programme were tests to determine the concentrations of faecal coliforms, faecal streptococci and salmonellae. In both the soil amendment trials and biosolids storage trials, concentrations of indicator organisms and salmonellae decreased through an extended hot, dry summer period. Although these organisms were not detected in the majority of samples taken during the summer, repopulation of faecal coliforms and salmonellae occurred in the trials following rainfall at the beginning of the winter. In the case of one of the storage trials repopulation occurred following a period of 50 weeks when salmonellae and faecal coliforms were not detected. When repopulation occurred, faecal coliform concentrations increased to higher than those at the beginning of the trials. These results suggest that faecal coliforms and salmonellae were at undetectable concentrations through the summer period but were able to grow when provided with favourable conditions. (27)
According to ROBERT V. MILLER, 1998, head of the department of microbiology and molecular genetics at Oklahoma State University, notes there are "three common forms of horizontal gene transfer—transduction, conjugation and transformation—to occur in nature"
He said, "In transduction, bacteriophages (viruses that infect bacteria) pick up genetic material from one bacterial cell and deposit it in another. As part of their life cycle, bacteriophages attach to bacteria and inject their DNA. This DNA then serves as a blueprint for making more copies of the bacteriophage, which burst from the infected bacterium and go on to infect other cells. At times, however, some of the new particles carry bacterial instead of viral DNA. Indeed, bacteriophages are capable of transferring whole plasmids and pieces of chromosomes between Hosts."
Dr. Miller added, "Until recently, researchers assumed that transformation would not occur in most places, because free DNA would not be stable in soil or water. But studies by Michael Lorenz and Wilfried Wackernagel of the University of Öldenburg in Germany, Guenther Stotzky of New York University and others have demonstrated that free DNA can become stable by associating with soil components and that this DNA can be taken up by competent cells."
Furthermore he added, "The researchers found that conjugation can enable a laboratory strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa to pick up a plasmid that naturally provides resistance to mercury toxicity in bacteria that inhabit the polluted river Taft, near Cardiff, Wales. P. aeruginosa is a common soil and freshwater bacterium that can cause respiratory and urinary tract infections in humans whose immune defenses are weakened."
According to Dr. Miller, in transformation, "Bacterium underging transformation picks up free DNA released from a dead bacterial cell. As DNA-binding complexes on the bacterial surface take up the DNA enzymes break down one strand into nucleotides; meanwhile the other strand may integrate into the bacterium' chromosome" (46)
One study was undertaken by Herbert Marcinek, et al., 1998, "Since no data on E. faecalis gene transfer in sewage water treatment plants are available, we performed such studies in the sewage water treatment plants of two Bavarian cities, Munich (Kla¨rwerk Marienhof: Dietersheim) and Regensburg (Kla¨rwerk Barbing), Germany. Our data indicate that under the natural conditions of the Regensburg plant ca. 106 to 109 gene transfer events between different E. faecalis strains should take place per day."
As background they add, "the data for conjugal transfer of genes and genetic elements between different strains of E. faecalis and between this bacterium and other bacterial species (in both directions [i.e., to and from E. faecalis]) under laboratory conditions are too numerous to be cited here."
Furthermore they noted, "Resistance plasmid pAMb1 has been shown to transfer among E. faecalis, E. Faecium, and Lactobacillus reuteri in the digestive tracts of mice (27). (This plasmid also transfers between Lactobacillus curvatus strains in fermenting sausages .) Inducible transfer of conjugative transposon Tn1545 from E. faecalis to Listeria monocytogenes in the digestive tracts of gnotobiotic mice has also been reported."
Marcinek noted, "Gene transfer occurs under natural conditions not only in soil, marine water, and sewage water treatment plants, but also in other biotopes. For example, transduction via phages occurs between Pseudomonas aeruginosa strains on the surfaces of leaves (21); gene transfer occurs between the fish pathogenic bacterium Aeromonas salmonicida and a human Escherichia coli isolate in raw salmon on a cutting board and gene transfer between physically isolated bacteria is enhanced by the presence of burrowing earthworms as a biological factor which facilitates cell-to-cell contact."
The study concluded, "Taken together, our data seem to indicate that under severe stress situations very unusual (high) gene transfer efficiencies can occur." "Heat treatment resulted in enhanced gene transfer from Escherichia coli to various coryneform bacteria (31), as did other stress situations, such as exposure to organic solvents or detergents and pH shifts."
Marcinek also warned, "The argument that the possibility of gene transfer has to be totally excluded in genetically engineered bacterial strains does not make sense if gene transfer occurs in nature." (43)
An EPA study 1997-2002 states, "The release of transgenic plants and bacteria containing genes from subspecies of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) that code for insecticidal proteins poses a potential hazard to the environment. The continual production of the toxins, especially those encoded by truncated genes that express active toxins rather than inactive protoxins, by growing transgenic organisms that are indigenous or adapted to the specific habitat may exceed consumption by insect larvae and biotic and abiotic inactivation. Hence, the toxins could accumulate to concentrations that may constitute a hazard to nontarget organisms [all living things= bacteria to humans] and that could result in the selection and enrichment of toxin-resistant target insects. The accumulation and persistence would be enhanced if the toxins are bound on particles (e.g., clays and humic substances) in the environment and, thereby, are rendered less accessible for microbial degradation." (56) Or did EPA mean microbial transformation?
SCIENTISTS GET MORE INVOLVED IN SLUDGE/BIOSOLIDS RESEARCH
In 1999, EPA microbiologist David Lewis said, "According to scientists working for the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Research & Development, the Sludge Rule on land application of municipal wastes (40 CFR Part 503) promulgated in 1993 may be the most scientifically unsound action ever taken by the agency. Rather than being protective, the rule actually threatens public health and the environment."
Lewis adds, "The science behind EPA's sludge rule, according to some of the agency's own scientists who reviewed it, was so bad it was popularly deemed "sludge magic". Because sludge contains human pathogens and trace quantities of mercury, lead, and other toxic metals, applying it to areas used for growing food crops and selling bags of it to home gardeners is a source of concern. Ecologists also have reservations about the effects of nutrients, toxic metals, and other pollutants leaching from sludge into surface and groundwater."
The appearance of new strains of staphylococcus, tuberculosis, E. coli and other bacteria --some of which are completely resistant to modern antibiotics -- has led to a resurgence of life-threatening infections that were once easily treated. Spreading sludge, which contains such superbugs flushed down hospital sewer lines, on farms and home gardens throughout the U.S. has scientists both inside and outside of EPA understandably concerned. With increasing numbers of children dying from E. coli strain O157 traced to an assortment of products, including strawberries and hamburger meat, citizens are becoming increasingly concerned over agricultural products imported from less developed areas of the world where human waste serves as cheap fertilizer." (61)
The 2001 Stefano Dumontet et al., study " The Importance of Pathogenic Organisms in Sewage and Sewage Sludge" reported in the J. Air & Waste Manage. Assoc., "Bacterial pathogens in sewage sludge contribute significantly to health problems, locally and globally."
They state, "Besides the pathogens of past concern (e.g., Bacillus cereus, Clostridium botulinum, Clostridium perfringens, Salmonella typhi, Shigella, Staphylococcus aureus), Tauxe 35 reported a list of new or emerging pathogens that have been recognized in the last 20 years as being predominantly foodborne.
They are the Norwalk-like viruses; the bacteria C. jejuni, Campylobacter fetus ssp. fetus, Escherichia coli O157:H7, E. coli O111:NM, E. coli O104:H21, Listeria monocytogenes, S. enteritidis, Salmonella typhimurium DT 104, Vibrio cholerae O1, Vibrio vulnificus, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Yersinia enterocolitica; and the alga Nitzschia pungens (causative agent of the amnesiac shellfish poisoning). Campylobacter coli and Arcobacter spp.,36,37 V. cholerae O139,38 and Aeromonas spp. should also be added to the list of emerging bacterial pathogens"
"Technical limitations for detection and isolation procedures can be considered the main difficulties in monitoring sludge pathogens. In addition, pathogenic bacteria introduced into a hostile environment may become viable but not culturable121 without losing their virulence factors. Note also that sludge may contain several xenobiotic compounds, and composted sludge could facilitate inhospitalities between pathogenic bacteria." (29)
Table 3. Viruses excreted by humans that can be isolated from sewage sludge.34,43,57,126,127 Virus Diseases or Symptoms Caused Enteroviruses Polio virus Poliomyelitis, meningitis, fever Coxackievirus A Herpangina, respiratory disease, meningitis, fever Coxackievirus B Myocarditis, congenital heart anomalies, respiratory disease, pleurodynia, rash, fever Echovirus Meningitis, respiratory disease, diarrhea, encephalitis, acute hemorrhagic conjunctivitis, fever New Enteroviruses Adenovirus Respiratory disease, eye infection Parvovirus Meningitis, encephalitis, respiratory disease, acute hemorrhagic conjunctivitis, fever Reovirus Not clearly established Hepatitis A virus Infectious hepatitis Hepatitis C virus Infectious hepatitis Hepatitis E virus Infectious hepatitis Rotavirus Vomiting and diarrhea Astrovirus Not established Calicivirus Vomiting and diarrhea Coronavirus Common cold Norwalk agent and other Vomiting and diarrhea small round viruses Adeno-associated viruses Not clearly established, but associated with respiratory disease in children Polyomaviruses JC Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy BK Infections of the urinary tract
Table 7. Parasites that have been isolated from sewage and sewage sludge.43,109,110 Protozoa Cestodes Nematodes Cyclospora cayetanensis Diphyllobothrium latum Ancylostoma duodenale Cryptosporidium parvum Echinococcus granulosus Ascaris lumbricoides Encephalitozoon intestinalis Hymenolepsis nana Necator americanus Entamoeba histolytica Taenia saginata Toxocara canis Giardia lamblia Taenia solium Toxocara catii Sarcocystis spp. Trichiurus trichiura Toxoplasma gondii Vittaforma corneae
In 2002, EPA's David Lewis, et al., studied health effects at 10 sludge sites in the United States and Canada. They found, "Affected residents lived within approximately 1 km of land application sites and generally complained of irritation (e.g., skin rashes and burning of the eyes, throat, and lungs) after exposure to winds blowing from treated fields. A prevalence of Staphylococcus aureus infections of the skin and respiratory tract was found. Approximately 1 in 4 of 54 individuals were infected, including 2 mortalities (septicaemia, pneumonia). This result was consistent with the prevalence of S. aureus infections accompanying diaper rashes in which the organism, which is commonly found in the lower human colon, tends to invade irritated or inflamed tissue."
They add "Overall, the prevalence of S. aureus infections in this study was approximately twenty-five times higher than infections among hospitalised patients, a recognised risk group for S. aureus."
They note, "Risks of infection with S. aureus may also depend on environmental processes that enhance the ability of sewage sludges to irritate the skin and respiratory tract. As gram negative bacteria die off after sludge application, endotoxin concentrations (a potential source of bronco-pulmonary."
They found, "Chemical irritants of concern with biosolids include endotoxins, lime, ammonia, and alkyl amines. These contaminants may cause allergic and non-allergic reactions that could contribute to broncho-obstructive and inflammatory responses . The senior author and two accompanying individuals, for example, experienced coughing, burning eyes, burning throat, headaches, congestion and difficulty in breathing within 1 h while conducting a site visit in Menifee, CA. The visit occurred during a time when residents were reporting these same symptoms. Although high winds were blowing sand from the treated fields, no odour was evident at that time. This experience argued against attributing the symptoms to odour-related psychosomatic responses, which are thought to play an important role in self-reported illnesses associated with human and animal waste-treatment operations ."
They warn, "As sludges dry in the field, lime and other irritant chemicals become concentrated and, therefore, may be more irritating upon dermal contact and inhalation."
Their Conclusions, "When assessing public health risks from applying sewage sludges in residential areas, potential interactions of chemical contaminants with low levels of pathogens should be considered. An increased risk of infection may occur when allergic and non-allergic reactions to endotoxins and other chemical components irritate skin and mucus membranes and thereby compromise normal barriers to infection."
PRO-SLUDGE SCIENCE APPROACH LIMITATIONS
EPA and its associates have mounting a new massive Public Relations Campaign to counteract good science. Ned Beecher, New England Biosolids and Residuals Association (NEBRA), kicked off the Campaign in August 2003. Beecher noted, "Two research initiatives have been progressing during the past two years that seek to address the lack of data on bioaerosols emitted from biosolids land application processes. One has been led by Dr. Ian Pepper of the University of Arizona at Tucson. While Dr. Pepper's team tested air samples for a variety of bacteria, viruses, etc., this study focused, initially, on whether or not Staphlococcus aureus, a common human pathogenic bacteria, is present in biosolids and bioaerosols."
He added, "The other study on bioaerosols from biosolids has been led by Dr. Patricia Millner, a microbiologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This study, dubbed the "Pennsylvania Study," has grown from preliminary research conducted by Dr. Millner over the past several years. (Dr. Millner presented at last year's NEWEA/NEBRA New England Residuals and Biosolids Conference.)"
Beecher also noted the limitations when he said, "Dr. Millner and the others involved in the "Pennsylvania Study," recognize limitations of such field work, including the fact that not all potentially harmful pathogens can be tested with current valid methods. In addition, any field study of this sort includes many variables and factors, some of which are difficult or impossible to control and/or predict (although this study's scientists are addressing some such variability by using reference standards, widely-accepted methodologies, and controls). For example: biosolids are variable and it can be difficult to arrange for testing of specific biosolids that have caused complaints at land application sites, and, therefore, not all biosolids tested in this kind of study will have been the subject of complaints." (60)
An example of this type of limitation is noted in a recent bioaersol study by Gerba, with Brooks et al., 2005, reported "samples were analysed for the presence of HPC bacteria, total coliform bacteria, Escherichia coli, Clostridium perfringens, coliphage, enteroviruses, hepatitis A virus and norovirus." (44)
This is not very good science, "For number of years EPA has used Heterotrophic Plate Count (HPC) Bacteria (1999) as an indicator of the presence of coliforms in water supplies." (45)
Gerba noted, "Faecal coliform bacteria do have a relationship with Salmonella in biosolids, which has been previously demonstrated (Yanko 1988). However this relationship may not be present when considering other pathogenic bacteria and may not be relevant to aerosols.
Even though potential exposure is 24 hours/7 days a week, they state , "As aerosol samples were collected during 20- min sampling periods, it is conceivable that during this sampling period, high concentrations of aerosolized coliforms or coliphage may have been missed.".
Furthermore, they warned, "It is noteworthy to state that this study does not take into account other pathogenic bacteria present in biosolids and assumes that the greatest risk would be from a pathogenic bacterial genus (Salmonella) that is more prevalent in biosolids."
As a fnal warning, they state, "The use of coliphage as an indicator of enteric viruses present in biosolids is a source of uncertainty, as to date there is no study showing this relationship exists, however to date an approved indicator for enteric viruses in biosolids is still lacking. As such, the same can be said regarding aerosolized enteric viruses and aerosolized coliphage from biosolids land application" (44)
A coliphage is any bacteriophage able to infect the bacterium Escherichia coli
DEADLY NONDETECTABLE PATHOGENIC DISEASE CAUSING ORGANISMS IN SLUDGE/BIOSOLIDS
Yogita N. Sardessai, 2005, reported, "in recent years, many studies have revealed the ability of both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria to go into a viable but non-culturable (VBNC) state. In this state, bacteria are still viable and show metabolic activity and respiration, but cannot be shown as colony forming units by the conventional plate counts and hence remain hidden. Microbial ecologists have in the past stated that plate counts of bacteria in soil, rivers and oceans are typically less than 1% of the total bacteria observed by direct microscopic methods."
Sardessai adds, "VBNC bacteria are a major concern in public health risk assessments because many pathogenic bacteria like Vibrio cholerae, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Campylobacter jejuni, Helicobacter pylori, Vibrio vulnificus and Escherichia coli have been reported to enter a VBNC state from which they are able to return to the infectious state after passaging in animal hosts.". (47)
James D. Oliver Department of Biology, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 2005, notes, "Since the original 1982 paper from the laboratory of Rita Colwell (Xu et al., 1982), over 400 papers have appeared which describe various aspects of the phenomenon most commonly referred to as the " but nonculturable (VBNC) state" A great many pathogens, as well as nonpathogens, are now known to enter this dormancy state, and its significance in medicine, bioremediation, the use of bacteria as fecal indicators, and indeed in most microbiological studies where culturability is employed as the (often sole) indicator of viability, is becoming increasingly Evident."
Oliver said, "a number of studies have found that processes which are normally assumed to be bactericidal for bacteria may instead result in cells which reside in the VBNC state. These include such treatments as pasteurization of milk (e.g. Gunasekera et al., 2002) and chlorination of wastewater (Oliver et al., 2005).
Futhermore, he said, "The number of species described to enter the VBNC state constantly increases, with approximately 60 now reported to demonstrate this physiological response. Included are a large number of human pathogens, including Campylobacter spp., E. coli (including EHEC strains), Francisella tularensis, Helicobacter pylori, Legionella pneumophila, Listeria monocytogenes, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, several Salmonella and Shigella spp. and Vibrio cholerae, V. Parahaemolyticus, and V. Vulnificus."
He states, "We have recently been studying the human pathogen, H. pylori, which is estimated to infect 50% or more of the worlds population (Lambert et al., 1995) and is associated with the development of chronic human gastritis, peptic ulcers, and gastric adenocarcinoma (Catrenich and Makin, 1991; Peterson, 1991; Asaka et al., 2001). Molecular methods have detected the presence of H. pylori DNA in river water, well water, wastewater, as well as surface and shallow groundwater, suggesting that this organism is waterborne and may be transmitted by the fecal/oral route (Hulten et al., 1996; Hegarty et al., 1999; Moreno et al., 2003). However, despite its high incidence of infection, the bacterium' reservoir and mode of transmission remain undetermined."
He adds, "We have recently demonstrated (Adams et al., 2003) that H. pylori is able to enter the VBNC state as cells are exposed to a natural, freshwater environment, and that this entry is dependent on the ambient temperature. Cells underwent a transition from culturable rods to predominately nonculturable cocci as they entered the VBNC state. Further, cells could be demonstrated to be producing DNA transcripts for at least 26 hours after they had completely entered the VBNC state (Adams and Oliver, unpublished). Finally, we have observed that cells of H. pylori in the VBNC state are resistant to the antibiotics commonly employed for the treatment of ulcers,"
Oliver warned, "These studies suggest that H. pylori is able to persist in the environment in this dormant state until it enters a suitable host, at which time a new round of infection might be initiated."
Oliver's concluson, "While the importance of VBNC cells in the initiation of human infection is not yet fully clear, it appears that cells in this state retain virulence, and should be considered by those investigators and government regulators involved in the public health." ,(48)
In their study, Diez-Gonzalez, et al,, reported, "Escherichia coli can survive at pH 2.0 if it is grown under mildly acidic conditions. Cattle are a natural reservoir for pathogenic E. coli," (42)
Tao Zhang, Genome Institute of Singapore (2005), discusses plant viruses in the human gut. He said, "In addition to bacteriophages, the other well-studied human enteric viruses are the viral pathogens associated with gastroenteritis. They can infect the human small intestine cells, causing damage to the epithelial lining and the absorptive villi, leading to the malabsorption of water and an electrolyte imbalance"
Zhang said, "Many viral pathogens have been isolated from the feces of gastroenteritis patients, including rotavirus, astrovirus, calicivirus, hepatatis E virus, certain members of coronavirus and torovirus, and the enteric adenovirus (serotypes 40 and 41). Except for the adenoviruses, which contain DNA genomes, all the others are RNA viruses. Despite intensive studies, many causative agents of human gastroenteritis are still unknown.
Zhang explains why they are unkown. He said, "Traditionally, discovery of viruses was dependent on culturing the viruses in host cells in order to propagate and isolate enough pure virions for characterization. However, it is generally known that the large majority of viruses, including enteric viruses, cannot be cultivated using standard techniques.
"To date" he said, "very little information is available on the human enteric RNA viral flora, despite the fact that many RNA viruses are known etiologic agents [pathogens] of gastroenteritis."
"In addition" he said, "24 out of the 35 plant viruses detected in these fecal samples were known pathogens of consumable crops including fruits, vegetables, tobaccos, and cereals suggesting that foods contaminated with plant viruses might have contributed to the RNA viral flora in human feces."
Zhang said, "We further provide evidence that the fecal PMMV was viable and could cause infection to a host plant. PMMV viruses appeared to be stable through the human digestive system." "The discovery of this previously unknown transmission route for plant viruses is potentially important for a better understanding of certain agricultural practices, because in traditional agriculture and in developing countries, human and animal refuse are often used as fertilizers for crops.
He said. "it is conceivable that these viruses might disassociate from the plant tissues and therefore are readily accessible to host epithelial cells and microbial cells existing in the intestinal environment. Earlier studies showed that plant viral particles could be assembled in Escherichia coli cells, which leads to the speculation that some feces-borne plant viruses might be capable of interacting with microbes in human guts. Given that nonpathogenic commensal intestinal bacteria can significantly alter the immune system of an organism, it is conceivable that viruses such as PMMV, replicating or not, may also have an effect." (17)
EPA EXPLAINS THE DANGER AND THIRD PARTIES CLAIM SLUDGE IS SAFE
As Gerba (UA) and James Smith (EPA) , 2005, explained, "The hazards associated with pathogens in land-applied animal and human wastes have long been recognized. Management of these risks requires an understanding of sources, concentrations, and removal by processes that may be used to treat the wastes; survival in the environment; and exposure to sensitive populations."
They say, "More than 150 known enteric pathogens may be present in the untreated wastes, and one new enteric pathogen has been discovered every year over the past decade."
Furthermore, they say, "For risks to be quantified, more data are needed on the concentrations of pathogens in wastes, the effectiveness of treatment processes, standardization of detection methodology, and better quantification of exposure. "
EPA has three disposal options under part 503: 1) Selling sludge/biosolids as an unlabelled Class A Compost fertilizer or soil amendment where pathogens are claimed to be non-detectable; 2) land treatment of pathogen contaminated sludge as beneficial use: and 3) disposing of sludge/biosolids in a sludge only landfill with associated safety precautions.
As there are no scientific studies that show sludge/biosolids to be safe. EPA uses third parties to make the claim that sludge might be a low risk product based on EPA assumptions and E. Coli being at relatively low detection levels. (11)
EPA's definition of "Safe": Condition of exposure under which there is a practical certainty that no harm will result to exposed individuals. (57)
In EPA's Biosolids Facts 2006, -- Frequently Asked Questions, # 9) Are biosolids safe? EPA states, "The National Academy of Sciences has reviewed current practices, public health concerns and regulator standards, and has concluded that "the use of these materials in the production of crops for human consumption when practiced in accordance with existing federal guidelines and regulations, presents negligible risk to the consumer, to crop production and to the environment." (33)
"The NRC report implies that while the regulations are complex, protection of public health is assured by federal regulations, not only part 503, but Toxic Substance Control Act (40 CFR 700-799), National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) (40 CFR 122-125), Solid Waste (40 CFR 256-257), Hazardous Waste (40 CFR 260-280), U.S. Department of Agriculture (7 CFR 600-611, 650-658, 799, 3100, 3407), Drinking Water Standards (40 CFR 141- 143), there are safeguards, i.e. - "If public drinking water does not meet mandatory requirements, suppliers must provide notice to customers (40 CFR 135)". (pp. 165-167)" (62)
In reality, PART 135 is for PRIOR NOTICE OF CITIZEN SUITS under the Clean Water Act and the Drinking Water Act. Yet, EPA believes it is not applicable to a federal permitted release under part 503..
"Part 503 is a very unusual regulation in that it is based on deliberately misusing exclusions in the actual Federal Laws [to create gigantic loopholes]: 1) the domestic sewage exclusion in the RCRA (residential raw sewage entering the treatment plant), and 2) the commercial fertilizer exclusion in the CERCLA. Not only that, but the Part 503 regulation is self-implementing (self-permitting) which means that the regulation can be used as a permit, and as a partial shield defense against any liability claims, and 3) the statutory exemption for agricultural runoff."(63)
Congress is letting EPA get away with murder. This is a fraud against the public and its own desire; "Congress' overriding concern ---the safe handling of hazardous waste (H.R. at 3) and the elimination of the "last remaining loophole" in environmental regulation (H.R. at 4) --- must prevail." (45 F.R. 33092, dated 5-9- 1980). Congress was very emphatic about the classification of sludge as a solid waste. "The first category of material which are regulated as "waste" under RCRA are "garbage, refuse (and) sludge" (section 1004 (27). (63)
According to the EPA, "Questions have been raised about conditions under which sewage sludge disposed at a Superfund site might give rise to liability under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA)." The answer, according to the EPA, "(State cannot recover under CERCLA for damages resulting from releases authorized by NPDES permit). Consequently, releases of hazardous substances from the land application of sewage sludge authorized under and in compliance with an NPDES permit would constitute a Federally permitted release." (63)
The NRC report pointed out that common law liability could arise under the product liability doctrine (the EPA does claim sludge is a commercial fertilizer). According to the NRC study, if it is not handled properly, it can damage human health, because, "Sewage sludges are recognized as potentially harmful because of the chemical pollutants and the disease- causing agents they may contain". (p. 121) (64)
Why would we need to resort to common law liability? Staff Attorney Sheehan of Attorney General Janet Reno's office has answered the implied question, by stating in a letter, dated Aug. 5, 1995, that the Department of Justice does not have any jurisdiction in environmental matters and all complaints are automatically referred to the EPA. Yet, even when the EPA Inspector General's Office acknowledges a municipality is violating a federal law, as it did with Kansas City, Missouri, it states the EPA does not have any jurisdiction to enforce violations of federal laws associated with these sludge dump sites. According to the EPA IG's Office, the only thing it can do is keep the EPA grants open until the violation is corrected. That is not a major problem for the municipalities.
EPA has passed the liability to the states which are ignoring Common Law, specifically; "Amendment 14 Current title: Civil rights. "Section 1. .... No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of Citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
"Under the common law, every person has the right to equal protection of the laws. No where in the common law is there an exclusion, which says that a few people can be sacrificed because they are isolated and any incidence of sacrifice would not be widespread. In fact, there is no exclusion in the Congressional mandated laws which give the EPA the right to sacrifice the health of thousands of people annually for economical sludge disposal." (65)
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) (31)
Yet, the Water Environment Federation (WEF) 2006, fact sheet states, "Decades of studies have demonstrated that biosolids can be safely used on food crops." "In addition, an epidemiological study of the health of farm families using biosolids showed that the use of biosolids was safe". (40)
EPA does not make that claim in its documents and the epidemiological study referred to by WEF was not only incomplete, it use low quantities of sludge with a very low pathogen levels.
EPA's 2006, Biosolids Technology Fact Sheet, Use of Composting for Biosolids Management, based on Yanko's 1988 study states, "Under some conditions, explosive regrowth of pathogenic microorganisms is possible." "Composting is not a sterilization process and a properly composted product maintains an active population of beneficial microorganisms that compete against the pathogenic members."
Odor production at the composting site.
Survival and presence of primary pathogens in the product.
Dispersion of secondary pathogens such as Aspergillus fumigatus, particulate matter, other airborne allergens.
Lack of consistency in product quality with reference to metals, stability, and maturity.
In addition to odors, other bioaerosols, such as pathogens, endotoxins, and various volatile organic compounds, must also be controlled.
Biofilters are often used to control odors, but the biofilters themselves can give off bioaerosols. (28)
EPA's 2006, Biosolids Technology Fact Sheet, Use of Landfilling for Biosolids Management, states "There are several potential environmental impacts associated with landfilling of wastewater biosolids. Leachate from the landfill may transport nitrate, metals, organics, and/or pathogens to groundwater if the landfill site has not been properly selected or if the liner has been damaged."
Landfilling is generally considered for wastewater biosolids management when land application or other beneficial reuse is not possible. Typical scenarios that lead to selection of landfill disposal rather than beneficial reuse include:
Land acquisition constraints;
High concentration of metals [note: high concentrations of metals are prohibited under the landfill section of 503.23] or other toxins [Note: toxins are not mentioned] in the biosolids; or
• Odorous material that may create a public nuisance if managed through other options
Disadvantages • Landfilling biosolids eliminates their reuse potential and is contrary to the EPA national beneficial reuse policy. [note: which is based on exclusions in the National Policys of the United State]. • Landfilling requires extensive planning, including selection of a proposed landfill site, and operation, closure, and post closure care of the site. • Operation, maintenance, and post closure care of landfills are labor intensive. • Landfill sites have a potential for groundwater contamination from leachate. • Decomposition of biosolids in a landfill produces methane gas which must be collected and reused or disposed of by flaring or venting. Energy can be recovered. (32)
EPA's Biosolids landfill fact sheet is the only EPA document that mentions pathogenic toxins in sludge/biosolids. EPA Office of Wastewater uses terms of art to separate the pathogen land treatment option as beneficial use versus pathogen disposal in a permitted landfill, Both options require that sludge/biosolid be incorporated into the soil. The official EPA terms are "Land Application: Discharge of wastewater onto the ground for treatment or reuse." And "Land Farming (of Waste): A disposal process in which hazardous waste deposited on or in the soil is degraded naturally by microbes." (49)
40 CFR 503.33(b)(10)(i) Sewage sludge applied to the land surface [land Treatment] or placed on an active sewage sludge unit [disposal] shall be incorporated into the soil within six hours after application to or placement on the land, unless otherwise specified by the permitting authority. (ii) When sewage sludge that is incorporated into the soil is Class A with respect to pathogens, the sewage sludge shall be applied to [land treatment] or placed on the land [disposal] within eight hours after being discharged from the pathogen treatment process.
PATHOGENS AND ORGANISMS -- HUMAN AND ANIMAL
Monday February 20, 2006, An article in The Guardian, reported that, "Three-quarters of the 38 species of harmful organisms and viruses identified in the past 25 years are thought to have "jumped" from animals to humans, according to US and Scottish scientists". (2)
Professor Mark Woolhouse, from the University of Edinburgh, "-- told the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) [at the ] annual meeting in St Louis that the apparent rise in the number of pathogens - agents such as bacteria that transmit disease - was "too fast" simply to be caused by natural processes such as evolution." (2)
Dr. Woolhouse said, "The survey of human pathogens produced a count of 1,407 human pathogen species, with 177 (13%) species regarded as emerging or reemerging. Of all pathogen species, 208 are viruses or prions, including 77 (37%) regarded as emerging or reemerging. For bacteria, the counts were 538 and 54 (10%), respectively; for fungi, 317 and 22 (7%), respectively; for protozoa, 57 and 14 (25%), respectively; and for helminths, 287 and 10 (3%), respectively." (4)
Dr. Nina Marano, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, notes, "new infections reemerging as a result of antimicrobial resistance developing in existing agents (e.g., emergence of infections caused by multidrug-resistant strains of Salmonella Newport), or breakdowns in public health measures (e.g., Mycobacterium bovis tuberculosis). She said, "Strikingly, 75% of emerging infectious diseases have been identified as zoonotic [animal] in origin" (3) Like human health affects, especially food poisoning, Salmonella and E. Coli infections in cattle have followed an upward trend as contaminated sludge/biosolds have been dumped on grazing and farmland as a fertilizer. According to Margaret A. Davis, Washington State University, Prior to 1990, only 5% of Salmonella infection Isolates from Cattle and 3% of Salmonella infection Isolates from humans in the Northwest were drug resistant. By the mid 1990s, more than 70% of cattle infection isolates and almost 50% of human infection isolates were drug resistant. ( 37) Dan Bolinger, MSU Extension Diary Agent notes, By 1992, Salmonella infection of dairy calves stood at 2 percent in the Midwest. In 1996, 11 percent of all dairy cows in the United States were infected. (38)
E. Coli 0157:H7 was first isolated in 1982. Only about 15 deaths were recorded in the 1980s. By 1998, an estimated 1 to 2 percent of cattle were infected with E. coli O157:H7. E. coli contamination was responsible for more than 20,000 infections and 200 deaths each year in the United States. A 2002 USDA NAHMS study found that 38.5% of dairy farms had at least one cow positive for E.Coli 0157:H7.
In 2002, Dr. W. Dee Whittier, Virginia Extension Veterinarian said. "Salmonella can be considered almost as a normal inhabitant of the cattle digestive tract." (39)
In a 2003 study in Kansas houseflies were gathered from the feed bunks of a cattle farm. E.coli O157:H7 was found in every batch of houseflies collected. By 2005, An estimated 73,000 cases of E. coli O157:H7 in humans are reported each year in the United States. ,(39) (33)
PEER REVIEWED PAPERS ON LACK OF SCIENCE
In January 2004, EPA and its partners held a conference "Sustainable Land Application" in Orlando, Florida. Conference papers were presented that were later published in the Journal of Environmental Quality, January/February 2005.
One paper, "Sustainable Land Application: An Overview, Co-authored by EPA's Robert Bastian and James Smith admitted that, "Little experience is available for conducting quantified microbial risk assessment, and sucessful evaluations require better data on infectious dose and the survival and transport of specific organisms during land application." .(19)
In "Interfacing with the Real World", Bastian and Smith mentioned. "An important conclusion [drawn] from the 1973 [sludge use] conference was that "unless political and institutional constrains on land application of effluents and sludges are recognized, identified, and resolved, projects will likely fail, regardless of their technical, scientific, and economic feasibility" (National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges, 1973)". (19)
In that 1973 conference, John Walker, who was with the USDA at that time, explained that non-detection of Salmonella did not mean the bacteria were dead. USDA research showed that liming sludge, or liming the soil, only inactivated Salmonella for about 30 days. Then there was regrowth to the original levels.. EPA also noted in the 1989 proposed sludge regulation that there could be explosive regrowth of Salmonella.
Since Congress stopped ocean dumping of waste EPA has pursued a policy of dumping waste on land as Class B sludge or Class A fertilizer. According to EPA's sludge policy, Class B sludge may contain up to two billion (2,000,000,000) fecal coliform per kilogram. Class A sludge/biosolids may contain up to one million (1,000,000) fecal coliforms per kilogram.
Unknown until recently was EPA's policy of beneficial use was actually classified as land treatment of sludge/biosolids. Robert Bastian of EPA is one of the advocates of this process. Land treatment of sludge/biosolids depends on the environment to breakdown the chemicals and inactivate the pathogens. In a paper found in the Journal of Environmental Quality, he states, "The major objectives of this paper are to (i) review how current land application practices, and our understanding of them, have evolved over time and (ii) explore how science is used (and sometimes misused or ignored) in the development of design, regulation, and management of sustainable land application. Land treatment technologies have been used effectively for the treatment and recycling of many types of wastewaters and organic residuals for many years."
He admits, "Concerns raised over emerging pathogens and chemicals for which little or no data are available tend to be put off for future consideration when more adequate data are generated."
Bastian said, "The importance of public involvement and public acceptance in maintaining sustainable land application projects simply cannot be overstated." (16)
Also in 2005, Robert Bastian and James Smith (EPA), stated why the public needs to accept this dangerous practice, "Because of economic restraints and environmental concerns about land-filling and incineration, interest in land application continues to grow." (12)
In spite of the fact that Gerba and Smith say they don't have the data to quantify the risk, Bastian and Smith said, "A major lesson that has been learned, however, is that the traditional definition of land application that emphasizes applying residuals to land in a manner that protects human and animal health, safeguards soil and water resources, and maintains long-term ecosystem quality is incomplete unless the earning of public trust in the practices is included." (12)
How can public trust be earned when in 1993, "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." (Federal Register No. 58, p. 9252) (21)
The theory has been that there are not many people around sludge disposal sites, so the health effects for a few people are not significant or widespread.
Yet, in 2005, Alan Godfree and Joseph Farrell (Retired EPA and claimed to be pathogen expert on 503 Peer Review Committee) said, "Wastewater contains human, animal, and plant pathogens capable of causing viral, bacterial, or parasitic infections. There are several routes whereby sewage pathogens may affect human health, including direct contact, contamination of food crops, zoonoses [animals], and vectors [flies, mesquites, etc.]. The range and numbers of pathogens in municipal wastewater vary with the level of endemic disease in the community, discharges from commercial activities, and seasonal factors." Furthermore, they said, "Wastewater treatment reduces number of pathogens in the wastewater by concentrating them with the solids in the sludge. Although some treatment processes are designed specifically to inactivate pathogens, many are not, and the actual mechanisms of microbial inactivation are not fully understood for all processes."
What is particularly important here is that Godfree and Farrell include plant pathogens as being capable of causing viral, bacterial, or parastic infections, which may effect human health. (13)
ODORS AND SLUDGE/BIOSOLIDS
Susan S. Schiffman 2005, Department of Psychiatry, Duke University Medical Center, said, "Malodors emitted from large animal production facilities and wastewater treatment plants, for example, elicit complaints of eye, nose, and throat irritation, headache, nausea, diarrhea, hoarseness, sore throat, cough, chest tightness, nasal congestion, palpitations, shortness of breath, stress, drowsiness, and alterations in mood. There are at least three mechanisms by which ambient odors may produce health symptoms. First, symptoms can be induced by exposure to odorants (compounds with odor properties) at levels that also cause irritation or other toxicological effects. That is, irritation—rather than the odor—is the cause of the health symptoms, and odor (the sensation) simply serves as an exposure marker. Second, health symptoms from odorants at nonirritant concentrations can be due to innate (genetically coded) or learned aversions. Third, symptoms may be due to a copollutant (such as endotoxin) that is part of an odorant mixture." ,(15)
HYDROGEN SULFIDE EXPOSURE FROM BACTERIA CREATING THE GAS DURING DECOMPOSING SLUDGE/BIOSOLIDS
Schiffman's second point appears to indicate that health symptoms associated with strong smell is all in the persons imagination. However, she uses Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S as an example and then goes on to describe several cases were very low levels do cause health effects. Hydrogen Sulfide's rotten egg ordor can be detected at 0.5 ppb (parts per billion). The gas is created by bacteria converting sulfates to sulfides. Hydrogen Sulfide is just as deadly as Hydrogen Cyanide. It is heavier that air and concentrates in low places. For this reason children will be subject to higher doses than adults.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends a 10-minute ceiling limit of 10 ppm (parts per million) in the workplace. Maximum airborne concentration below which it is believed that nearly all individuals could be exposed for up to 1 hour without experiencing or developing irreversible or other serious health effects or symptoms which could impair an individual's ability to take protective action) = 30 ppm. OSHA maximum peak exposure = 50 ppm (10 minutes, once, no other exposure), NIOSH IDLH (immediately dangerous to life or health) = 100 ppm,
Olfactory nerve fatigue occurs [nerves in the nose are deaden] in 2 to 15 minutes at concentrations over 100 ppm, Symptoms of acute exposure include nausea, headaches, delirium, disturbed equilibrium, tremors, convulsions, and skin and eye irritation. Inhalation of high concentrations of hydrogen sulfide can produce extremely rapid unconsciousness and death
Repeated or prolonged exposure has been reported to cause low blood pressure, headache, nausea, loss of appetite, weight loss, ataxia, eye-membrane inflammation, and chronic cough. Neurologic symptoms, including psychological disorders, have been associated with chronic exposure. Chronic exposure may be more serious for children because of their potential longer latency period.
Exposure to lower concentrations can result in eye irritation (because of the high alkality of the SH- anion), a sore throat and cough, shortness of breath, and fluid in the lungs. These symptoms usually go away in a few weeks. Long-term, low- level exposure may result in fatigue, loss of appetite, headaches, irritability, poor memory, and dizziness.
Schiffman's third point was that health symptoms thought to be caused by odor might in fact be caused by endotoxins.
PUBLIC RELATIONS AND SLUDGE/BIOSOLIDS
Yet, in 2005, EPA's partners are still expanding the 1994 public Relations program to change public perception of the danger from sludge/biosolids by trying to get the public involved in a risk assessment that can not be done by the experts.
No one can explain why people are so upset as well as the people who have spent millions of dollars trying to convince us that sludge/biosolids is safe.
Ned Beecher, et al., 2005, said "An individual's perception of risk develops from his or her values, beliefs, and experiences. Social scientists have identified factors that affect perceptions of risk, such as whether the risk is knowable (uncertainty), voluntary (can the individual control exposure?), and equitable (how fairly is the risk distributed?). There are measurable differences in how technical experts and citizen stakeholders define and assess risk. Citizen knowledge and technical expertise are both relevant to assessing risk; thus, the 2002 National Research Council panel on biosolids recommended stakeholder involvement in biosolids risk assessments."
"During the 90s", Beecher said, "Emphasis was placed on education of the public about the scientific basis and experiences supporting biosolids recycling from the industry perspective (e.g., Powell Tate, 1993) Some concepts from social science research was brought into the field to improve public perceptions of biosolids. For example, the invention of the term "biosolids" was predicated on the understanding, verified by social science surveys, that it evokes a lesser negative response in many people than the word "sludge" (Powell Tate, 1993: Beecher, et al. 2004).
What EPA and its partners have found is that the first and second phase of risk communication hasn't worked very well. The first phase was ignore the public. The second phase was the "Decide-Announce-Defend (DAD) approach." Now they are entering the third stage, "Engage in dialogue, the sharing of information and understanding", to accomplish the fourth stage, "Affect change in individual and/or organizational values and culture."
All of this is intended to undermine the publics "rage factors". Beecher outlines some of the realities of sludge use as "rage factors. He said the "rage factors" are: 1) "involuntary" exposure to sludge/biosolids"; 2) "potentially catastropic in time and space"; 3) "not reversible (persistent pollutants are permanent additions to soil)"; 4) "having delayed effects (some effects from biosolids may not be evident immediately)"; 5) "affecting children and mothers (because they may happen to play around biosolids and'or consume foods grown on biosolids-amend fields)"; 6 "affecting future generations (because there is some uncertainty about long-term effects)"; 7) "having identifiable victims (reported cases of harm to cows and people)"; 8) "potentially affecting them such that they have a personal stake (neighbors who believe they are affected)"; 9) "moral and/or ethical objectionable (if biosolids are seen as a potential threat, then it can be preceived as morally wrong for powerful cities to foist biosolids on a rural comunity)"; and 10) "associated with untrustworthworthy people (social science surveys have most often shown that government officials, people from out of town, and those who have a financial interest are preceived as less trustworthy" (14)
In January 2006, Ned Beecher responded to Dr. Caroline Snyder's paper on The Dirty Work of Promoting "Recycling"of America's Sewage Sludge, published November 2005, in The International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health
Beecher, said, "The abstract of Dr. Snyder's paper states: "Serious illnesses, including deaths, and adverse environmental impacts have been linked to land application of sewage sludge. EPA and the wastewater treatment industry have worked with Congress to fund wastewater trade associations to promote land application, supporting industry-friendly scientists and discouraging independent research, to prevent local governments from restricting land application and to thwart litigation against municipalities and the industry." In making these charges, the paper ties together many disparate events and statements from a wide variety of public and private reports, court documents, letters, internet sites, media news stories, and a few formal published papers. Dr. Snyder's arguments build, in part, on those of Dr. David Lewis, a former EPA scientist who also criticized EPA's sewage sludge management regulations, policy, and the science behind them. Dr. Snyder's paper can be downloaded at: www.ijoeh. com/pfds/IJOEH_1104_Snyder.pdf"
Beecher repeats the tired line that there is 30 years of research which proves there is "negligible risk." Since EPA states in the sludge rules (503.9(t)) that exposure to pollutants (disease causing organisms and chemicals) in sludge could kill you, that appears to be a little more that a "negligible risk." He also implies that the National Academy of Sciences actually reviewed the literature, rather than the limited information furnished by EPA and its partners. However, Beecher does agree that there is "persistent uncertainty about the potential for adverse human health effects from exposure to biosolids."
Beecher said, "NEBRA, one of the professional associations that Dr. Snyder's paper criticizes, understands and appreciates that the application to soils of treated sewage sludge/biosolids can sometimes be a contentious topic. However, thirty years of concerted research and experience with biosolids recycling have found "negligible risk," as a 1996 National Academy of Sciences review stated. A second National Academy review in 2002 found "There is no documented scientific evidence that the Part 503 rule has failed to protect public health. However, additional scientific work is needed to reduce persistent uncertainty about the potential for adverse human health effects from exposure to biosolids" (see scienceof.html for more details). Indeed, the science behind current biosolids management policies and activities, as in other fields, is not static - current ongoing research addresses not only emerging issues of concern, but ways to improve existing biosolids use and management techniques." (59)
EPA's CURRENT STAND ON PATHOGENS AND CLAIM FOR A LACK OF KNOWLEDGE
In a presentation, National Update and Trends in Biosolids Management in the U.S.,December 7, 2005, Robert K. Bastian (EPA) notes,
"Less active EPA oversight, but continued program support,"
Increase the resources devoted to EPA's biosolids program,
Addressing areas of growing interest, (e.g., Odors, Dioxins, Radiation, Bioaerosols, Bioassay),
Seven states are formally delegated (UT, OK, SD, WI, TX, AZ & OH) and another ~15 actively seeking delegation,
There have been anecdotal allegations of disease, and many scientific advances have occurred since the Part 503 rule was promulgated.
Establish a framework for an approach to implement human health investigations, RFP issued in July'05 for developing protocol for Investigating Reports of Alleged Health Impacts Associated with Biosolids,
Participate in an Incident Tracking Workshop Aimed at Development of Response Mechanism.
results of Biennial Review Cycle 2003 published in Dec'2003; ID'd 15 pollutants (out of >800) for further evaluation;
Methods Development, Optimization, and Validation for Microbial Pollutants in Sewage Sludge … Fecal coliform and Salmonella spp. methods validation studies completed - reports issued Sept'04;
improved enteric virus methods studies underway, and validation studies will be conducted when methods are available;
improved viable helminth ova methods and validation studies yet to be initiated, (84)
Bastian said it best, EPA has been Interpreting Science, ignoring and misusing science, in an effort to get the public to accept land treatment of pollutant (disease causing pathogenic organisms and chemicals) contaminated sludge as beneficial use. Farrell, who sat on the 503 Peer Review Committee sums it up, "Although some treatment processes are designed specifically to inactivate, not destroy, pathogens, many are not, and the actual mechanisms of microbial inactivation are not fully understood for all processes." Beecher outlines the outrage the public is experiencing at being forced to accept this very dangerous sludge, the health effects and deaths that are occurring because of it, and the fact that health officials are failing to act by ignoring the truth. Final, Bastian acknowledges EPA does not have the standards to show sludge/biosolids are safe, but EPA will continue to support the program even though only seven states are approved to issue permits under part 503 for sludge disposal as a fertilizer. In effect, all other states are required to manage sludge/biosolids as a solid waste under part 257/258..