National Sludge Alliance

NSA Public Fact Sheet 111
Caution: EPA Scientist at Work

The EPA claims that a farmer can not be held liable for any damages to human health or the environment caused by
the use of biosolids/sewage sludge on food crop production land as a fertilizer, even, if the farm becomes a Superfund
site! Furthermore, according to the EPA, neither the producer of the sewage sludge or the spreader of the sewage
sludge will have any liability for any health or environmental damages, when sewage sludge is used as a fertilizer!
(Public Facts #100, #101)

However, while there may be no liability, other than the loss of a farm, the farmer is not protected, because he/she is
required to read the EPA regulation which warns; the EPA Administrator has information available which proves that if
any of the organic or inorganic or pathogen pollutants in beneficial use biosolids/sludge enters your body either directly
by ingestion or inhalation or indirectly through the food chain, can or will, cause your death, or cancer, or disease, or
other serious health effects in you and/or your unborn children (40 CFR 503.9(t), FR. 58, 32, p. 9389).

In effect, according to the EPA, the sewage sludge use and disposal regulation 40 CFR 503, puts the health of the
farmer, the food consuming public and the farmer's neighbor at risk as well as the environment. Essentially, according
to the EPA, there is no liability or risk to the sludge producer or spreader of the sewage sludge. But what about the
neighbor? (Public Facts #100, #101)

Death does not frighten Linda Zander, but she does get angry at the Federal and State Agencies who are causing her
sickness by allowing the uncontrolled dumping of sewage sludge near her farm. The toxic pollutants from the sewage
sludge have contaminated the air and water on her farm. Zander has had to watch her family and friends become sick,
and some have already died, as well as her livestock. She has had to watch as her livelihood was destroyed and the
farm was taken away. The worst part was finding her name on an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) list, as a part
of a 1.2 million dollar EPA/Water Environment Federation (WEF) public relations campaign to debunk sewage sludge
"horror" stories. (Public Facts #101

The EPA can not afford to investigate any health damage claims caused by the use of sewage sludge because of the
liability involved. Which is why it has created the public relations program to debunk any such claims as noted above,
such as the Zander case and others. (Public Facts #101)

In fact, Number 2 on the EPA's list of 19 "horror stories" to debunk is, "Linda Zander case - Sick & dead cattle -worker
health -Farm Bureau and Dairy Today stories". Rather than investigate the Zanders problems, the EPA/WEF has
created a scientific fact sheet, marshaled the state agencies, and scientists to discredit them. (Report to the National
Sludge Roundtable (RNSR), July 1996, Laredo Safety Institute, Laredo, TX.)

In reality, before the toxic waste dumping started, the Zanders, who had operated the dairy farm for 20 years, had a
comfortable life with no major problems they could anticipate. They looked forward to a comfortable and relatively
healthy old age. Within a year after the Western Services Waste Management began spreading sludge adjacent to their
farm, Linda and Raymond Zander reported changes occurring in normally healthy dairy cows. Some of their herd
developed arthritis and a number of their calves were born with tendon abnormalities. Milk production dropped by 17
percent. Then the cattle started dying. (RNSR)

Furthermore, the Zanders health problems fit the EPA's profile of toxic sewage sludge exposure. While Linda
experienced mycoplasma pneumonia, chemical induced brain damage, thyroid problems and immune system damage,
Raymond suffers from hypothyroid, lupus and nickel toxicity. In addition to their other medical problems, the Zanders are
facing financial problems. They were forced to declare bankruptcy, when the bank, who is financing the sludge
producers' defense of their legal suit, foreclosed on their property. (RNSR)

When Zander started looking for answers, she found that the Whatcom County Health Department, the very agency that
should have helped her, had approved the sludge dumping. When she could not get the Whatcom County Health
Department or the Washington State Ecology Department or the EPA to stop the dumping, she went to Court for an
order to stop the dumping. The Court Order to stop it was not effective, because it was then dumped at night. (RNSR)
There is additional documentation which confirms the EPA, WEF, Washington State Ecology Department and King
County Department of Metropolitan Services (Metro) are conspiring to destroy the credibility of the Zander family claim.
Peter Machno of the King County Metro is the WEF expert delegated (according to the EPA memo dated 12-94) to
explain away this case. On February 22, 1993, two Washington State Ecology Representatives - Al Hanson, Kyle
Dorsey and five King County Metro representatives - Mark Lucas, Carol Ready, Steve Gilbert, Dan Sturgill and Salley
Tenney of the Metro Legal Services as well as Mel Kemper of the City of Tacoma, Hal Thurston an Attorney, and four
individuals actually associated with the Zander law suit, met in a closed meeting to discuss the Zander Case. According
to Keith A. Bode's, Zander Action Summary, the legal cost will exceed 500,000 dollars. (RNSR)

Bode also warned the producer organization in the Zander Action Summary that Zander had identified 18 medical
experts (including physicians, immunologists, toxicologists, and nutritionists), 9 veterinarians, 2 property
valuation/devaluation experts, 3 soil/hydraulic/geologic experts and 1 testing lab who would testify about the dangers of
sewage sludge use to humans and animals. Bode also warned that there would be extra-regional impact and "This
action must not be settled". Bode further warns that, "The public persona of biosolids is precarious, at best, and each
member of WEF and AMSA can be assured that Zander appears dedicated to capitalizing on every available
opportunity to publicize her scare story ... and remember, with respect to land application, the farming community
comprises less than 2% of the population, so she need only reach a narrow population to cripple land application. It is
essential that her soapbox be removed and her credibility challenged before our regional problem has any more effect
nationally or internationally on land application of biosolids." (RNSR)

One of the articles written about Zander was "Sludge under suspicion," by Ed Haag, published in the Farm Journal, in
March, 1992. According to a letter dated, May 17, 1996, from PIMA GRO SYSTEMS, INC. to the Planning Director of
Imperial County, Ca., Pima Gro Systems Director of Technical Services assures Imperial County that, "the Farm Journal
article was retracted by the magazine itself due to the amount of mis-information it included." Furthermore, "The Farm
Journal article...... was thoroughly rebutted by Dr. Terry Logan, a respected soil scientist from the University of Ohio and
a member of the peer review committee that developed the 503 regulation. This rebuttal article is attached." (RNSR)
The rebuttal article, dated April 27, 1992, is impressive. Dr. Logan has been, "active in sludge research and consulting
for 15 years." Not only that but he, "co- chaired the W-170 Regional Research Committee of USDA-CSRS that has
coordinated research on sewage sludge in the U.S. for the same period of time." However, according to Logan, he
sympathized " with the Zanders who were taking advantage of an opportunity to reduce their input cost and to assist in
recycling of our waste. It was also logical for them to suspect that sludge was the cause of the observed livestock
disorders." "No data is given, for example, of the metal analysis of the sludge applied to the Zander land, or analysis of
soil or forage from sludge amended pastures."

It is apparent, Dr. Logan never even read the article he was rebutting. No sludge has ever been applied directly to the
Zander land. Furthermore, in spite of Pima Gro Systems assuring the Imperial County Planning Director that the Farm
Journal article had been retracted because of Dr. Logan's rebuttal article, as of July, 11, 1996, Karen Frieberg,
Managing Editor of Farm Journal, states that the Farm Journal has not retracted the article. (RNSR)

The EPA/WEF public relations campaign to debunk the sewage sludge "horror stories" by Zander, and others farmers
like her, is based on the EPA's 18 year old policy of promoting the use of sewage sludge as a fertilizer on lawns,
gardens and food crop production land. EPA backed up it's 18 year old sewage sludge policy with a sludge use and
disposal regulation in 1993, 40 CFR 503. Under the EPA regulation, sewage sludge that is too contaminated with
certain toxic pollutants to be disposed of safely in a landfill is promoted as a safe fertilizer. Yet, the EPA's strongest
defense against these "horror stories" by Zander and other farmers like her, is it's claim to a lack of scientific data
concerning the human health and environmental damages which can be caused by the toxic pollutants in sewage
sludge. (Public Facts #109)

Furthermore, part of the EPA/WEF defense against the damages which can be cause by the uncontrolled use of
sewage sludge as a fertilizer, is an EPA funded 1996 National Research Council (NRC) report; Use of Reclaimed Water
and Sludge in Food Crop Production. The NRC Report concluded, that based on the EPA's lack of scientific studies and
data indicating potential harmful effects, and if all the other regulations and laws concerning the safety of food worked
properly, sludge was probable safe for use on food crop production land.

However, "The [NRC] Committee based its review on existing published literature [furnished by EPA] and discussions
with experts in the field.", such as Dr. Logan. (NRC Report, p. viii)

In effect, according to the NRC Report, since there were no published scientific studies in the literature to support the
"horror stories" of Zander and other farmers like her, it concluded the toxic contaminated sewage sludge could not be
harmful as a fertilizer on lawns, gardens and food crop production land.

While the NRC Report did not note the EPA's acknowledgment that exposure to the toxic pollutants in sewage sludge
could cause dramatic and serious health effects through the food chain, the Report did note that EPA only addressed
10 toxic heavy metals, out of 126 toxic priority pollutants known to cause serious health effects. (Public Facts #110)
Furthermore, the NRC report failed to note that one of the Studies it claimed to have reviewed, documented Salmonella
infection of cattle grazing on pastures fertilized with toxic sewage sludge and a cycle of infection from humans to sludge
to animals to humans. (Public Facts #110)

Not only that, but the disease organisms (found in beneficial use sewage sludge), which cause many public health
effects; Salmonella, E. coli, Hepatitis A, Cyclosporia and others, according to the National Center for Disease Control,
cause approximately 50 million cases of food poisoning and 9,000 deaths annually. (Public Facts #110) -LSI-