PART ONE

To justify their contention that sludge is safe, proponents of beneficial use of sludge claim no
workers in treatment plants have suffered ill effects from working there. However, several
scientific studies of treatment workers in the United States and Europe dispute this claim.
Researcher J. R. Nethercott in his article "Airborne Irritant Contact Dermatitis due to Sewage
"Sludge", in the Journal of Occupational Medicine, November 1981, 23, (11) p. 771-4 reported
how an airborne irritant in sewage sludge caused an outbreak of cases of dermatitis among
incinerator workers employed in a sewage treatment facility. The cause of the problem was
traced to contamination of the workplace and workers' clothing by sludge from the interstices of
an incinerator exhaust fan.  Tests on rabbits confirmed the irritancy of the sludge.

Scientists Kraut, Lilis, Marcus, Valciukas, Wolff, and Landigan of the Department of Community
Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York City, New York reported their findings on
solvent toxicity to workers in sewage treatment plants in the article "Neurotoxic Effects of Solvent
Exposure on Sewage Treatment Workers" in the Archives of Environmental Health, July/August,
1988, 43, (4), pp. 263-68. They found after examining nineteen STWs (Sewage Treatment
Workers) exposed to industrial sewage that contained benzene, toluene, and other organic
solvents at a primary sewage treatment plant in New York City (Plant A),  that fourteen (74%)
complained of central nervous system (CNS) symptoms consistent with solvent exposure,
including lightheadedness, fatigue, increased sleep requirement, and headache. The majority of
the symptoms resolved when the workers were transferred from the plant. The researchers
found objective abnormalities in neurobehavioral testing in all four men who had worked longer
than 9 years at the plant but in only 5 of 15 employed there for a shorter period of time. They
concluded that these results are consistent with the known effects of solvent exposure.

Another study of the health of employees at six sewage treatment plants and three drinking
water plants (control) performed in England by scientific researchers Lundholm and Rylander,
reported in an article entitled "Work Related Symptoms Among Sewage Workers" in the British
Journal of Industrial Medicine in August 1983, revealed that a higher proportion of employees at
sewage treatment plants reported skin disorders, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal symptoms
than the control group.  In order to characterize exposure to aerosals of sewage water, serum
immunoglobulin concentrations, white blood cell counts and fibrinogen degradation product
concentrations (FDP) in urine were determined by the researchers as were the number and
species of airborne Gram negative rods. The researchers found no significant differences
between the groups for white blood cell count or serum immunoglobulin concentrations except
that IgM concentrations were slightly higher in the sewage workers.  Some workers had serum
transaminase concentrations in excess of normal and among non-smokers a higher proportion
of sewage treatment workers had increased amounts of FDP in urine.  Their conclusion was that
it was conceivable that the cause of the symptoms was from toxins from Gram negative

The results of a clinical investigation that was made among workers in a sewage treatment plant
in Switzerland with similar aged workers in a control group who were not exposed to sewage
showed that in about half of the exposed workers there were acute incidences of fever and eye
symptoms.  Serum immunoglobulins, white blood cells and thrombocytes were elevated in the
exposed workers and a higher percentage of increased levels of C-reactive protein and
fibrinogen degradation products were found in the exposed group compared to the control
group. The investigation did not establish a definite cause-effect of endotoxins but they were
suspect. Endotoxins are poisonous substances present in bacteria. (Rylander, R., Andersson,
K., Belin, L., Berglund, G., Bergstrom, R., Hanson, L., Lundholm, m., and Mattsby, I, Studies on
Humans Exposed to Airborne Sewage "Sludge", Journal Article with English abstract, Schweiz
Med Wochenschr, February 12, 1977, 107 (6), pp. 182-4).

When scientific researchers Clark, Bjornson, Fulton-Schwartz, et al from the University of
Cincinnati Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, conducted an epidemiological study of the health of
compost which they reported in the article "Biological Health Risks Associated with the
Composting of Wastewater" in Journal of Water Pollution Control Federation, 1984. 57 (12), pp.
1269-76, they found there were biological effects on the workers from their exposure to
composts. {Composting is the waste disposal process which allows waste to decompose or rot).
The study included a clinical and serological evaluati}n of workers who were exposed with
workers who were not exposed (control group).  Physical examinations of the control group
revealed there was an excess of abnormal eye, ear, nose and skin conditions among the
workers exposed to the composts.  Nose and throat cultures were positive for Aspergillus
fumigatus.  These examinations also showed antibody to endotoxins in compost was sometimes
higher among compost workers than others and there was a low-grade inflammatory response in
some of the compost workers.

Composting causes serious health related problems for compost workers including an excess of
nasal, ear, and skin infections, burning eyes and skin irritation, increased fungal colonies, and
higher white blood cell counts and hemolytic complement (A letter to Kenneth Olden of NIEHS
from Drs. Jordan A. Fink, Professor of Medicine, Chief Allergy Immuno Therapy Division, Medical
College of Wisconsin, November 3, 1992)

Compost workers (and other sewage sludge treatment workers) are exposed to sludge eight
hours a day, but for residents of communities near sludge composting facilities it is twenty four
hours of daily exposure. Communities all across the country have reported illnesses associated
by their nearness to a composting facility. To mention just a few: Almaden, California in the
West, Islip Township and South Bronx in New York in the East and Franklin, Kentucky in the
South. The residents in Almaden, a once healthy community, in south San Jose first noticed the
terrible odors, then residents began to develop an array of health problems: skin rashes,
respiratory and sinus problems, asthma, joint pains, dizziness, and severe headaches. The
culprit--a municipal open air composting plant that was releasing mold spores into the air. Not
only were residents of Almaden affected but schools were as well. Children and faculty of The
Los Gatos Christian Church School, which was approximately 1000 feet from the compost,
experienced a remarkable increase in the number of upper respiratory and sinus problems. In a
personal letter to her former doctor, Jane Lily-Hersley, Almaden resident describes vividly what
she and her family and neighbors were experiencing because of their proximity to
the compost facility.

Even as I now write this story down on paper, an aura of unreality surrounds me. Half of my mind
feels this situation is science fiction, that this wierd situation cannot really be happening. Yet I too
am ill, and have tested IgG positive to fungal pathogens with blood levels that frighten me.

The nature of the environment we were living in at that time is hard to describe. One could not
walk outdoors and take a breath without gagging and retching. Reports of these sickening odors
came from as far away as 5 miles.  My sinus problems worsened terribly. My children were ill. My
husband who has an inherited eye problem, Cogen's dystrophy, experienced 11 corneal
erosions within a 6 week period. On nights when the stench was particularly acute, our animals
became ill. Our two cats developed diarrhea and vomiting, fur loss, and behavioral changes.
They were reluctant to go outdoors. The baleful howl of the neighborhood dogs was a nightly

In the meantime we were hearing complaints from other residents affected by the odors.
Complaints ranged from many minor physical irritations, headaches, sinus infections, skin
rashes, sleeping difficultiess, ear and eye irritations, to more troublesome ones, such as
bronchitis, and yet more serious ones, intractable asthma and pneumonia.  For those residents
who sought medical treatment for their complaints, some recovered very slowly, requiring
extended treatment to achieve relief from their symptoms. In other instances individuals sought
medical treatment but presented baffling cases to their doctors who were unable to
effectively treat their conditions.

After appeals to the city provided no action,  frustrated residents formed their own grass roots
organization which they named CURE (Citizens United for Responsible Environmentalism). They
enlisted the help of Dr. Vincent Marinkovich, who had been treating a family with three cases of
colonization by aspergillus, one a ten year old child who was seriously ill. According to Dr.

"Aspergillus is a well-known human pathogen. It is the scourge of the modern hospital in that its
control is difficult. It kills patients with diminished immunity and can cause serious illnesses in
exposed individuals who are otherwise normal.  Some species produce aflatoxin, the most potent
cancer-producing chemical known, bar none.  Its optimal growth temperature is 37 degrees
centigrade, which is human body temperature. It easily colonizes damaged human tissues such
as sinuses and lungs.  Once established, it is very difficult to eradicate. (p. 3 of statement for

Dr. Marinkovich is a medical doctor with Board certification in pediatrics and in allergy
immunology.  He is a clinical associate professor at Stanford University Medical School. He is an
expert in his field having spent almost twenty years treating lung disease both at Stanford and in
his private practice. He spent a year studying in England with professor Jack Pepys at the
Brompton Cardiothoracic Institute in London.  Professor Pepys was world renowned for his work
in the area of hypersensitivity lung diseases.  Most of these lung diseases were known to be
caused by inhalation of spores.

To gather information on the illnesses suffered by the residents, Dr. Marinkovich and CURE
conducted a survey of the affected residents and tested their blood.  Seventy eight adults and
117 school-aged children were surveyed and the blood of 266 residents was tested for IgG
antibodies in the blood using the MAST test.  This test measures the normal immune system
response (IgG antibody levels) to significant exposure to various substances, including the
environmental molds aspergillus, alternaria, cladosperium and penicillum. The higher the
antibody level, the more significant the exposure to the individual immune system. The survey
showed a considerable increase in illness above what was expected under normal conditions
and over what was the norm before the composting was started.  When the blood levels of the
residents living near the compost facility were compared with those of residents living several
miles away, the residents living near the compost had high IgG and antibody levels to
Aspergillus, that appears to thrive in compost. Dr. Marinkovich stated unequivocally in his
Statement on the Health Hazards from Bioaerosals Generated By Compost/Sludge Waste
Treatment Using Biological Method that, "As one of the physicians who personally examined and
tested many of the patients who reside in the valley, I have no doubts about the serious health
hazard of chronic fungal spore dissemination over a residential area."

When the information from the survey and blood tests were compiled, the residents of Almaden
tried to use them to get help but to no avail. According to Jane Hersley, "Neither the City nor the
State health office has assumed responsibility for the risk residents are being exposed to .
Passing the buck from department to department is the course of action they have elected to

She adds further:
I find it incredible that in the face of our complaints, no health study or risk assessment is being
undertaken by the health agencies of our state.  Governmental agencies are in fact continuing
to open new operations across the bay area without the proper and necessary scientific study
required to determine safety.  I fear dire consequences may result before government
recognizes the folly of recklessly implementing technologies that are inadequately
researched...There is a problem in Almaden. We need someone to pay attention,
and we need help to find some answers.

When Jane Lily-Hersley conducted a nationwide inquiry to learn if other communities had been
adversely affected health wise from composting or other sludge treatment processes, she found
that in the township of Islip, New York, the residents were experiencing health effects similar to
Almaden residents.

A municipal composting facility was started there in 1987. Since its inception, residents near the
facility were complaining of the terrible odors. Illnesses were increasing
especially asthma in children.

The New York State Department of Health is soon to release the results of their study. They did
provide me, off the record, preliminary information confirming the presence of pathogenic fungi
in tremendous concentrations at the compost site, and as far as 1/2 mile downwind from the
facility, when compared to background levels. These organisms included a predominance of
aspergillus, as well as mucor, penicillium, alternaria, cladosporium, and thermophilic
actinocmycetes. (Jane Lily-Hersley on p. 5 of her personal letter to her doctor)

In the South Bronx community where a sludge pelletization plant processes New York sludge,
residents have complained of illnesses. Children have especially been affected. The faculty and
children of P.S. 48 located five blocks from the pelletization plant are experiencing asthma,
headaches, sore throats, nausea, sinus congesting, runny eyes, nosebleeds, and tight chests.
More than a quarter of the 1100 students have asthma and are frequently hospitalized.
Forty-seven percent of one first grade class has asthma and thirty-three percent have been
hospitalized. The trucks hauling the sludge with its live disease causing organisms, organic
chemicals and heavy metals through the streets are not containerized trucks.

Although the health of residents of urban areas like Almaden, California, Islip Township and
South Bronx in New York is now being affected by sludge compost facilities and sludge
pelletization plants, residents of rural areas have been the target for years for land application of
sewage sludge without any recourse from local, state or federal agencies for any health effects
resulting from its application. In Franklin, Kentucky, 120 neighbors living around the Triple M.
Landfarm where in July they began composting 385 tons of treated sludge from Nashville,
Tennessee and six other cities became ill. Symptoms of the residents included vomiting,
diarrhea, nausea, lack of appetite, fatigue, headaches, respiratory problems, dizzy spells, sinus
problems, muscle aches. The epidemiologist the state sent from Frankfort told them it may be
months before she could finish her survey.  The compost piles have attracted vectors in
particular flies.  Several residents had infected fly bites.

Farm children often are exposed to sludge contaminants when they eat their own livestock that
have grazed on pastures with sludge, eaten vegetables from home gardens, and ingested
sludge directly off the ground, but the rule ignored these exposures (ORD source commenting in
Inside EPA, February 14, 1992, p. 10).

Some urban children are also being exposed to sludge contaminants when their unsuspecting
parents buy sludge fertilizer. When consumers buy sludge fertilizers they don't know what they're
getting. The manufacturers only have to reveal the nutrient levels of nitrogen, potassium and
phosphate amounts on the labels.

Lead is of particular concern.  The sludge risk formula used by EPA's Sludge Risk Assessment
Branch assumes that a blood lead level of 10 micrograms per deciliter is "safe". The only
conclusion that can be reached here is that it is OK with EPA's sludge managers for every child
in the sludge spreading area to suffer a permanent lowering of I.Q.

A national recall was initiated for crayons made in China when it was discovered that the crayons
contained lead. These crayons were discovered in March, 1994 when a child in Phoenix, Arizona
showed severe symptoms of lead poisoning. According to Dr. Tackett, the amount of lead in the
crayons was determined to be 600 and 800 parts per million which is really in the same ballpark
as lead in sewage sludge. He asks "What do you thing our chances are of getting a recall on all
sewage sludge?" (The Myth of Sewage Sludge Safety paper presented at Municipal Sewage
Sludge Conference, State College, Pennsylvania on May 21, 1994)

Most of Dr. Tackett's academic career has been devoted to the study of lead, its harmful effects
on humans, particularly children and its spread into the environment. He found that even very
low levels of lead can cause neurological damage which results in a permanent lowering of a
child's I.Q. He says, "the child becomes less able to cope with school, and is doomed to a life of

Medical experts do not agree with the lead level set by the EPA because it is much to high.
According to the Director of the Center for Disease Control, when a child absorbs lead to the
extent that his blood contains only 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood, that child will
suffer a permanent lowering of his I.Q. (a microgram is one millionith of a gram)

Some divisions of the EPA have recognized the dangers and have successfully reduced lead in
the environment by banning the use of lead in gasoline, paint and solder for water pipes, and by
lowering the lead allowed in drinking water to zero.

Dr. Tackett questions the assumption made about the amount of lead a child would absorb from
soil. He says that, "a child would actually absorb about 9 times more lead from the soil than EPA
has predicted in the risk assessment formula." He adds further, "Since EPA's assumed "safe
level" of lead is much too high, and the predicted absorption of lead from the soil is much too
low, a young child living in a sludge spreading area would be at a much greater risk than EPA
admits." (Op-Ed The Indiana Pennsylvania Gazette, October 2, 1994)

Two studies published in April 1997 say lead maybe even more toxic than previously believed
causing high blood pressure and kidney damage at unexpected low levels. Lead also causes
neurological disorders, reproductive problems, diminished intelligence and a host of other ills.
Scientists disagree about what levels of lead is safe. Infants are particularly vulnerable to lead

Christopher Weiss EPA, Region viii, in a letter to Ben Gavett, chairperson, ASTM Subcommittee
DO1.57, April 20, 1995 wrote of his concern with the use of the proposed methodology ASTM
5517 to assess lead solubility. He said that "Typically, due to the equilibrium nature of the tests
conducted to date, coupled with overly simplistic assumptions about "solubility" and adsorption
mechanisms in the gut, these tests may greatly underpredict lead adsorption in developing
mammals (including children). At a minimum, such tests must be correlated with experimental
animal studies in order to ensure protection of children and women of child-bearing age.

I encourage you to NOT finalize the development of an unvalidated leaching procedure without
further thought about the relationship between such a procedure and the
physiological aspects of lead adsorption in children (p. 1).

Thank you for considering the importance of this matter in light of its significance for our
country's children,

The proponents of beneficial use of sludge are correct when they state that no study has
documented harm to human or animal health in the United States from the recycling of human
and industrial waste into sewage sludge.  The key word is documented. While humans and
animals have both been harmed by land application of sludge.  The local, state and federal
governments refuse to document the ill effects residents in both urban and rural communities
are and have suffered from some form of sewage sludge disposal either directly on land or in
their distribution and marketing D & M as a fertilizer for lawns and gardens.

Since the 1940s residents in both urban and residential communities where pesticides were
sprayed on nearby fields had to battle local, state and federal governments to try to protect their
health from the use of these toxic substances. Although after a prolonged battle, concerned
residents working with environmental groups were successful in getting the deadly DDT and
Aldrin banned, other pesticides have been causing illnesses which are being ignored or poorly
investigated if at all by local and state regulatory agencies. In an article entitled "California
Journal: CAL-EPA Scientists Complain Pesticide Data Were Buried" in the Wall Street Journal
{California Supplement} October 2, 1996, p. CA-1, Mark Lifsher exposed a coverup of
pesticide-caused illnesses in Lompoc, California. For years, residents had been complaining of
flue-like symptoms that they attributed to the pesticides. Lifsher discovered that Robert Holtzer, a
medical doctor and biochemist who had recently retired from the EPA's Office of Environmental
Health Hazard assessment was told to ignore evidence that showed that pesticides sprayed on
nearby fields of lettuce, broccoli and flowers in Lompoc could be causing cancer and asthma
among the residents. According to Dr.  Holtzer account, preliminary research by his agency
showed a higher than normal incidence of lung and bronchial cancers, and an increase in
respiratory illnesses among the residents of Lompoc. When he presented these facts to his
superiors with the recommendations that further study was needed, he was told to ignore
it--don't study it, don't talk about it.  That his office was ordered to stop studying diseases in
Lompoc was confirmed by his supervisor. When Dr. Holtzer's former supervisor, David Siegel,
wrote a draft report on the pesticide situation at Lompoc stating that "the data did not provide
findings of increased illness in the Lompoc area, Dr. Holtzer and epidemiologist Richard Ames
and toxicologist Joy Ann Wisniewski refused to sign the draft report.

In their campaign to promote the beneficial use of sewage sludge, the EPA repeatedly assures
the public that land application of sewage sludge and sewage sludge as a fertilizer in products
for distribution and marketing will not harm public health or the environment. They claim that
there is a consensus in the scientific community that the use of sewage sludge is safe for both
land application and in distribution and marketing. However, in the scientific community there is
considerable controversy and uncertainties about the safety of sewage sludge.

According to David L. Lewis, Ecosystem Research Division, EPA National Exposure Research
Laboratory in Athens, Georgia is quoted in Nature, Vol. 381, June 27, 1996

Historically, the number of EPA professionals educated in the life sciences has been low
compared with those trained in the physical sciences, and has been decreasing in recent years.
Reflecting this disparity only a third of the internal grants awarded by ORD {Office of Research
and Development} support projects in the biological sciences. (p. 731)

"Ultimately what I would like to see, and not just on the sludge rule, is that we institute a peer
review process where scientists have a little more signoff, much like we have for the publication
of scientific literature." Lewis said in an interview. "We don't have something analogous to that
with regard to rules and regulations." " The Agency should also institute protection so that
scientists don't get swamped by politics," Lewis said.

Until recently, key agency officials had to approve all rules and regulations prior to their
publication in the Federal Register, he noted. That requirement has seen been removed. "It
seems to me we're moving in the wrong direction instead of moving in the direction of peer
review with teeth.

Lewis included part 503 in his Nature  criticism based on conversation with the EPA researchers
he said. "I asked other people what was a bad rule. The sludge rule came up more than once as
not just poor science but no science."  Researchers who say part 503 does not reflect real world
scenarios coined the term "sludge magic" to describe the experiments relied on
to develop the rule. Sludge. Sept. 25, 1996 p.156

Unlike most other scientific bodies, such as the editorial boards of journals, however, EPA has
no system of peer review in its regulations, Lewis said.

At the same time, not all issues have been settled with regard to agricultural application, Lewis
continued. It is premature to claim as many EPA and Agricultural Department researchers do,
that sludge can prevent many heavy metals from leaching into soil, he said. "Intuitively, there's
something wrong with that. You can't assume its going to be bound forever." (p. 156)

Scientific approach

The primary goals of science are to understand, explain, and through understanding alleviate
important problems that perplex human beings and to explain the workings of the
universe. (p. 12)

Science generates answers which are tentative. New evidence causes older theories to be
discarded, expanded, or revised to encompass all available information. (p. 12)

In the scientific method there are steps that organize the progression from the development of a
problem to its solution.

Understanding Educational Research, Charles D. Hopkins,
Charles Merrill Publishing Company 19--

There is sometimes a tendency for researchers to report only positive findings and to omit those
that show no relationship, since they are "unimportant". Remember if the results do not support
the hypotheses, this finding is also important. (p. 175)

By now it should be clear that research findings are never self-evident truths. At every stage the
researcher must make decisions. With every decision there are limitations or conditions placed
on findings, even when those decisions strengthen the overall research design. Of course,
measurement and sampling techniques are never perfect, and unmeasured or even unknown
variables may distort findings. As if these problems were not enough, there are often several
theories that can explain the same results. (p. 180)

That there can be substantial bias introduced by investigators has also been amply
demonstrated. Such bias maybe the subtle result of hoping to find support for a favored
hypotheses, or it maybe the outcome of limited information on the part of the investigator about
the subject or the phenomenon under study. (p. 122)

In some instances the researcher's area of inquiry has been severely limited, and in other
instances research projects have actually been halted and researchers forbidden to publish
because the research appeared to depict sponsors in an unfavorabe manner. In many cases the
limitations imposed seem less important than do the resources made available by such funding.
In fact, if you are to continue to do research, unless you are independently wealthy, you will
eventually need to obtain sponsorship for your work. (p. 21)

Preconceived notions affect the choice of research problems and the approach to their study.
Diligence is required both in reading and conducting research to recognize and understand
these influences. (p. 20)

Philliber, S. G., Schwab, M.R., & Sloss, G.S. (1980) Social
Research, Itasca, ILL" F.E. Peacock Publishers Inc.

Research has become professionalized and is generally carried out by persons who are paid to
do such work. In addition to providing salaries, sponsors are often needed to finance equipment
and materials necessary for research projects. The paper, envelopes, postage stamps,
laboratories, recording equipment, computer time, assistants, and other required facilities can
cost thousands of dollars. Much research is sponsored through grants, usually from government
agencies, corporations or private foundations. While the influence of sponsors may vary widely,
the usual procedure is for the researcher to submit research proposal in an area specifically
requested by the funding agency or in an area in which it maintains a continuing interest.
Committees review the proposal and decide whether or not to fund the project.

Objectivity is always difficult to attain in research in science and is probably impossible when the
researcher is emotionally involved with the topic (p. )

"Experimenters, far from being detached impartial observers of their "objects" of study, bring to
the experimental setting beliefs, attitudes, values, personal concerns, and self-interested
motivations...Experimenters are products of their socialization experiences and are, therefore,
affected by historical and cultural influences. (p. 64) (Hales, 1985, 1986).

Beliefs, values, and self-interest motives held by experimenters importantly influence what issues
they select for study, what findings they expect, what methods they employ, what results they
actually obtain and how these results are interpreted (p. 64)

Journal for the Theory of Social Behavior Vol 15, No. 3
October 1985; Vol 16 No 1 March 1986

The Nature of Science

Much scientific activity is concerned with the description of
natural or man made phenomena. (p. 20)

One needs to be careful about accepting or rejecting
hypotheses based on single studies. (p. 25)

The history of science provides many examples of peoples capacity for self-deception and
erroneous observations (p. 27)

Whenever the researcher has reasons for wanting her research to support a particular
viewpoint, the likelihood of bias is greatly increased. (p. 201)

Occasionally the individual will be so emotionally involved with her topic that she deliberately
slants her findings or even structures her design to produce a predetermined result. (p. 201)

Data is especially suspect if published by an organization that is attempting to prove a point or
build a case supporting a particular point of view. (p. 201)

Biases can influence the work of even the most competent scientists. The researcher who has
an emotional stake in the outcome of the research is especially susceptible to bias.

A scientist may unconsciously slant his work in a hundred different ways to favor the outcome he
wants (p. 203)

Does the scientist hold a theoretical position or have a stake in a particular point of view, or does
he belong to a group that would predispose him in a general direction about the subject of his

The importance of peer review. In as much as each of us brings a different background of
perception and experience to focus upon a given problem, it is not surprising that one person
may overlook the importance of a variable that is immediately apparent to another (p. 207)

Sample Size

We can never be sure of the magnitude of this difference unless we have measured the entire
population and compared the population and the sample. We do know, however, that the
probable size of this difference is closely related to the size of the sample. The sample ideally
should be large enough that the investigator can be confident, within a reasonable limit, that if
he should draw a different sample of the same size and using the same procedures he would
obtain approximately the same result in his research. (p. 240)

The sampling error is a function of the size of the sample,
with the error being largest when the sample is small.

It is important to select a sample of adequate size in order to produce research data that reliably
approximate the data that would be obtained if the entire population were studied (p. 240)

A conflict of interests

Don W. Cox, president of Oklahoma Wildlife Federation
commenting on H.R. 4360 in a letter to  on April 16, 1992 pointed out the conflict of interests that
exist with some soil scientists:

A common practice at the present is to offer a nearby state university soil science department a
"grant" to research the sludge application program if the program is accepted by the community
and the regulatory agencies. The soil scientists then begin making public statements as to the
beneficial nature of sludge. There is a clear conflict of interest in such cases. (p. 7)

Their recommendations to avoid conflict of interest included:
No research institution, nor its representatives, who have accepted grants, consulting fees, gifts,
other benefits, or promises of any of these from any sludge source, sludge handlers, or their
representatives or agents, may act as consultants, experts, or researchers in any of the
proceedings related to this bill (pp. 6-7).

EPA has supported the land spreading of sewage sludge for over 25 years through manipulation
for research money and the application of "selective science". Millions of dollars have been
made available through EPA and other federal, state and local agencies, for "beneficial use"
research. Agronomists and other soil scientists have had a virtually unlimited money pookl
available to conduct the "beneficial Use" research. Toxicologists, public health scientists and
medical researchers have not had a similar money pool available to study potential dangers and
adverse health effect of sewage sludge.

It is no wonder then that the scientists selected by the EPA to serve on sludge advisory
committees are the "beneficial use" researchers, and the only research reports they deem
acceptable for the purpose of adopting new sludge spreading regulations are from the
"beneficial use" studies.

While the one-sided research collected by EPA purports to show that sludge is safe, there are
many research reports and individual case studies that show exactly the opposite.

Dr. Terry Logan, Soil Scientist from Ohio State University has financial ties to the sludge industry.

Rufus Chaney was also a co-chairman for USEPA. He is employed by another federal agency,
USDA, and much of his research is the basis for the 503 regulations concerning allowable metals
limits who will question a chairman whose research is the basis of a regulation?

There seems to me to be a conflict of interest for both Dr. Logan and Dr. Chaney. It creates
doubt in my mind as to the objectivity of the science that supports 503 regulations--especially
when these same people who were instrumental in raising the limits are applauded by the water
treatment industry which raised a ruckus over the lower proposed limits, I can see why they were
named "Persons of the Year" by RCRA Review on February 1993.

What bothers me more, Dr. Logan and Dr. Chaney are not the only persons with government
research, or sludge industry connections. Even Mr. William Reilly, former head of the USEPA is a
paid consultant for N-Viro International. Dr, Jeffrey Burnham, as an employee of the Ohio
Medical College, worked under a research grant from the state of Ohio, in the development of
N-Viro Soilo. Dr. Burnham and Mr. Nicholson (the founder of N-Viro) were issued four patents
relating to the use of alkaline by products to pasteurize and stabilize wastewater sludges and the
production of an agriculturally beneficial product. Patents were assigned to the partnership
(N-Viro Prospectus, p. 16) at the time the patent applications were filed.

RCRA Review February 1993 Four of the Seven "Persons of the Year" are USEPA officials (e.g.,
Alan Rubin, James Ryan, Joseph Farrell, Robert Bastian). Two others, Rufus Chaney and Terry
Logan, have co-chaired EPA committees and subsequently EPA has redefined sludge as a soil
amendment/fertilizer rather than as a solid waste. The seventh person, Dr. Cecil Lue-Hing, the
sludge guru of the Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies (AMSA)...l

The claims now made for "sludge safety" sound eerily like the earlier that "DDT is perfectly safe"
and "asbestos is a miracle fiber that poses no danger at all."

We do not even know what all of the organic components of sludge are, or what their dangers
are. We do know that sludge contains many toxic heavy metals, persistent organic compounds
and live pathogens that pose particular public health threats if spread where people live.

Courts say no proof that sludge is safe

Rappahannock County Circuit Court on April 24-26, 1995. Testifying for the plaintiffs in support
of the land spreading of sewage sludge were Dr. Gregory K. Evanylo, a professor of agronomy
at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and Dr. Rufus Chaney, USDA. Dr. Chaney
was the main author of the 503 regulations. Testifying for the county in opposition to the land
spreading of sewage sludge were Dr. David Bouldin, a soil scientist at Cornell University and Dr.

In a recent unprecedented case, a Virginia judge agreed that the "safety" promised by the 503
regulations is indeed questionable. In the Circuit Court of Rappahannock County in April 1995,
the Honorable Joshua Lowell Robinson ruled that the county officials were correct when they
questioned the safety of sludge, and that the county's ban on the land spreading of sewage
sludge was valid.

Judge Robinson also expressed his concern about possible hazards from the chemical content
of the sludge. He stated that it is well-known that sewage sludge is variable in chemical content
from day to day, but the regulation do not require daily testing. Thus, Judge Robinson concluded
that the sludge cannot be as "safe" as the 503 regulations imply.

County board of supervisors adopted the ordnance to modify the county zoning code and
prohibited the use of sewage sludge for farming in the county.

Several local farmers backed by a sludge hauler sued the county to overturn the ordinance.

They filed both in federal and state courts. The federal suit was dismissed with judge saying that
the county had the right to determine its own sludge disposal method, and that there was indeed
an ongoing debate in the scientific community about the safety of the land spreading of sewage

A major disagreement in the testimony from the technical experts concerned the soil loading
limits of heavy metals allowed by the  503 regulations. Dr. Chaney defended the higher limits. It
was pointed out, however, that a number of respected U. S. and European scientists had studied
the problem extensively, and they all agreed that the 503 limits were much too high to be safe.
The 503 regulations permit metal loadings as much as ten times higher than is allowed by the
Canadian and European regulations. Higher concentrations of some of the heavy metals such
as lead threatens public health, while higher amounts of other heavy metals such as copper and
zinc threatens both the growth and crop yield of field crops.

When lead contaminates the environment it becomes a part of the soil. Lead is thus
incorporated in the dust that blows from the land and in the mud that is tracked into the home.
The dust permeates the home environment, and contaminates food and water supplies. Any
humans in contact with contaminated soil will unknowingly breathe in or ingest some of the dust.
When this happens, lead is absorbed by the body and enters the blood stream. Young children
have more active bodies, and will absorb about 50 % of the lead ingested,
while adults adsorb only about 10%. (p. 2)

United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit When Hugh Kaufman and TriStar Television
appealed a defamation judgment awarding Appellee Merco Joint Venture nominal damages of  
$1.00 against each appellant and punitive damages of 500,000 against Kaufman and $4.5
million against TriStar the court reversed the lower court decision and ordered judgment for the

In 1992, the city of New York contracted with Merco to dispose of up to thirty percent of the city's
sewage sludge. Merco purchased a ranch in Sierra Blanco, a West Texas town, as a disposal
site for the sludge shipments from New York which began arriving from New York in 1992.

In the spring of 1994, a television show produced by TriStar focused on the sludge shipments
arriving from New York. Their segment "Sludge Train" was broadcast on August 2, 1994. Hugh
Kaufman, the whistleblower from the EPA who exposed Love Canal, was a guest on the show.

Merco, upset by the broadcast, sued Kaufman and TriStar for what they said was defamatory,
disparaging and false allegations.

The conclusion the evidence at trial suggests is that experts have yet to reach a consensus on
the safety of land application of sludge. Merco itself conceded land application of sludge was
controversial. At best, Merco's evidence proved certain experts believed sludge is safe. It did
not, however, prove TriStar and Kaufman knew or should have known their position evidenced
by the TV Nation broadcast, was false, or that it was in fact false. (p. 4)

Kaufman's statements that Merco was an "illegal haul and dump operation." and that " the
people of Texas are being poisoned," were shown at trial to be Kaufman's honest beliefs and
were not so without basis as to constitute reckless disregard of the truth. Kaufman testified to
several aspects of the Merco operation he found questionable, and noted instances when Merco
had failed to comply with various  regulations. (pp. 4-5)

Kaufman professed his sincere belief that the land application of sludge is dangerous, and will
eventually be proved harmful. His figurative reference to "poison" is hyperbolic, but exaggeration
does not equal defamation. Merco repeatedly claims experts and agencies have stated sludge is
safe, and argues those opinions prove Kaufman should have known his statements were false.
However, these expert opinions are merely that--opinions. Moreover, because an "expert"
endorses a certain practice does not mean all reasonable debate on the merits or safety of that
practice is foreclosed. (p. 5)

Sekoff's voice-over comment that sludge contained "high levels of lead, mercury and PCBs,
likewise failed to meet the standard of actual malice. The vagueness of the term "high levels"
makes Merco's burden of proving defamation even more difficult. As well, the statement made no
particular reference to Merco sludge, referring instead to sludge in general. Kaufman, who
originally made the statement, based this assertion on numerous articles and reports
questioning the safety of sludge and its contents. There was adequate support for the
statement. (p 5)

Lead was banned from gasoline because the lead ended up as a soil contaminant when the
gasoline was burnded. All sewage sludges have elevated lead concentrations from the treatment
process. One application of sewage sludge to a field adds more lead to its soil than was
deposited there by 60 years of driving with leaded gasoline. Children and adults living near that
field will adsorb some of the lead--and they will suffer the consequences.

In 1984 when EPA was making the final push to completely ban lead from gasoline, agency
scientists studied all of the harmful effects of gasoline and published a report called "Costs and
Benefits of Reducing Lead Gasoline (EPA 230-03-84-005, March, 1984). The bottom line in that
report was "if lead is totally banned now, 4 million children will have higher I.Q.s next year." We
know more about lead now than we did in 1984--yet the EPA sludge scientists apparently
ignored the 1984 report when they were devising the 503 regulations. We can factually state
that wherever sludge is spread, the young children in the neighborhood will have lower IQs next
year, and every year after that. Somebody in EPA must be held accountable for this (p. 3).

Testimony before the Pennsylvania House Environmental &
Energy Committee, July 9, 1997.

A large body of scientific information has been accumulated by analytical chemists, medical
researchers, toxicologists, and children's health experts which indicates that the spreading of
sewage sludge as a fertilizer is a potentially dangerous practice.

In 1991 Dr. Tackett conducted a study for the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency in an effort to find ways
to reduce the lead concentration in drinking water.

Lead is a "cumulative poison". The human body has no defense against it, and has no natural
mechanism to use or dispose of any absorbed metal. Small amounts adsorbed daily are stored
in the body until the concentration level builds to a threshold of danger. There is no level of lead
that can be tolerated by the human body with 100 % guarantee of safety (p. 5).

Let me repeat: one application of sewage sludge fertilizer adds more lead to the soil than did 50
years of using leaded gasoline. (p. 5)

Testimony Before the House Conservation Committee,
Pennsylvania House of Representatives, October 2, 1991.

CDC considers dangerous a level of 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter (ug/dl) of blood. This
level of lead has been shown to lower the IQ of children under seven years old by several points.
Ironically, 10 ug/dl is the blood level EPA's Sludge Risk Management uses as an "acceptable"
risk (p. DE-4 The Sludge Safety Myth, Farm Journal, March, 1994)

Where ever lead pollution exists, people living in the area will adsorb some of the lead. Our
water, air, and food become contaminated. The main modes of human adsorption are breathing
in dust and aerosol particles, drinking contaminated water, and eating contaminated food. When
lead particles are breathed into the lungs, virtually 100 percent of the lead is adsorbed into the
blood. Adults adsorb about 10 percent of ingested lead (from water and food) into the blood
stream, while young children adsorb as much as 50 percent due to their increased body activity
(p. 2)

Sludge Conference, Oil City, Pennsylvania, September 27, 1997


Five of the 9 regulated contaminants the pathway of a child directly ingesting sludge was
deemed to be the most limiting path, generating the lowest acceptable level. Each pathway was
assessed independently and no attempt was made to look at the risk from exposure through
several pathways simultaneously or the effects of more than one contaminant at a time (p. 7)

Thus the child of a home gardener using sludge will likely eat vegetables from the garden
(pathway 2, Table 2) and may ingest soil that has received sludge (pathway 3). They may also
drink from a well or eat animals or animal products that have been impacted by sludge use. EPA
used a risk assessment method to set allowable metals limits while Europe uses a
non-degradation standard which is more conservative and protective of people and land.