New Study Documents EPA Industry Cover-Up of Deaths and Illnesses,
                             Linked to the use of Municipal Sewage Sludge

New Study Documents EPA Industry Cover-Up of Deaths and Illnesses, Linked to the Use of Municipal Sewage

10/25/2005 2:46:00 PM


To: National Desk, Environment Reporter

Contact: Caroline Snyder of Citizens for Sludge-Free Land, 603-770-4192 (cell), Web:

WASHINGTON, Oct. 25 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The United States Federal Clean Water Act defines municipal sewage
sludge as a pollutant. Typical sludges from industrialized urban centers contain tens of thousands of contaminants
from industry, institutions, businesses, landfills, and households that discharge into sewers. Wastewater treatment
plants are designed to remove these pathogens, metals, and organic chemical compounds -- many of which are
toxic and persistent -- from wastewater. Almost all the removed material, by necessity, concentrates in the resulting
sludge. Every month, every industry in the country is permitted to discharge up to 33 pounds of hazardous waste
into sewers.

Sewage sludge is being used as a fertilizer, without informing the recipients about the complete contents of this
contaminated waste material. In 2002, a National Academy of Sciences panel warned that sludge is such a complex
and unpredictable mix of biological and chemical wastes, that its risks, when used for farming, cannot be reliably
assessed. The panel concluded that standard strategies to manage these risks "do not protect public health."

Even though the effects of treated sludge are unpredictable, complex, and potentially harmful, the United States
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has failed to appropriately manage its disposal, says Citizens for
Sludge-Free Land. Instead, upper-level EPA managers abandoned their agency's mission by yielding to industry
pressure to promote and defend the risky practice of using a contaminated waste product on the nation's farms, the
group says.

Reports of serious adverse health effects, including deaths, linked to the use of sludge, have mounted. An article,
published in the current issue of the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health, documents how
EPA forged a powerful alliance with municipalities that needed an inexpensive method of sludge disposal and
sludge-management companies that profit from land application. The alliance's primary purpose was to control the
flow of scientific information, manipulate public opinion, and cover up problems, in order to convince an increasingly
skeptical public that sludge farming is safe and beneficial. The alliance ignores or conceals reported and
documented health problems, threatens opponents with litigation, distributes misleading information to peer reviewed
journals, the media, legislators, and the public, and, above all, attempts to silence critics.

To read the entire article, go to:

For related articles dealing with the corporate corruption of science, go to


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