Sewage Sludge Repackaged as Garden Fertilizer Tests Positive for Toxic Chemicals

By Frank Carini / ecoRI News staff

February 10, 2022

Sewage sludge that many wastewater treatment facilities lightly treat and then sell throughout the United States as home fertilizer contains concerning levels of controversial substances.

Last year the Sierra Club and the Michigan-based Ecology Center found toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, better known as PFAS or “forever chemicals,” in nine fertilizers made from sewage sludge — commonly called “biosolids” in ingredient lists — and mapped businesses selling sludge-based fertilizers and composts for home use.

Eight of the nine products tested exceeded the screening guideline for perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) or perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) set in Maine, the state with the strictest safeguards for PFAS levels in sludge spread on agricultural lands. PFOS and PFOA are two of the more dangerous forever chemicals. They are no longer manufactured in the United States, but they are still produced internationally and can be imported in consumer goods.

Overall, there may be as many as 5,000 of these manufactured chemical compounds on the market today. They persist in the environment and in our bloodstreams, as these compounds suffer no degradation in light or air or through biological processes. Since they are highly mobile, their contamination is spreading through soil into ground and surface waters and accumulating in fish, shellfish, wildlife, and crops.

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Microplastics found in human bloodstream

24 March 2022
A research team led by ecotoxicologist Heather Leslie and analytical chemist Marja Lamoree have become the first to demonstrate that plastic particles from our living environment end up in the human bloodstream.

The results of the research project, called Immunoplast, were published today in the scientific journal Environment International. The research shows that miniscule pieces of plastic from our living environment are absorbed into the human bloodstream.
The next question is how easy it is for these particles to move from the bloodstream into tissues such as in organs like the brain. Heather Leslie, working at VU during the research, explains: “We have now proven that our bloodstream, our river of life as it were, has plastic in it.”
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‘I don’t know how we’ll survive’: the farmers facing ruin in America’s ‘forever chemicals’ crisis

By James Alexander On Mar 22, 2022

Songbird Farm’s 17 acres (7 hectares) hold sandy loam fields, three greenhouses, and cutover woods that comprise an idyllic setting near Maine’s central coast. The small organic operation carved out a niche growing heirloom grains, tomatoes, sweet garlic, cantaloupe and other products that were sold to organic food stores or as part of a community-supported agriculture program, where people pay to receive boxes of locally grown produce.

Farmers Johanna Davis and Adam Nordell bought Songbird in 2014. By 2021 the young family with their three-year-old son were hitting their stride, Nordell said.

But disaster struck in December. The couple learned the farm’s previous owner had decades earlier used PFAS-tainted sewage sludge, or “biosolids”, as fertilizer on Songbird’s fields. Testing revealed their soil, drinking water, irrigation water, crops, chickens and blood were contaminated with high levels of the toxic chemicals.

The couple quickly recalled products, alerted customers, suspended their operation and have been left deeply fearful for their financial and physical well being.

“This has flipped everything about our lives on its head,” Nordell said. “We haven’t done a blood test on our kid yet and that’s the most terrifying part. It’s fucking devastating.”
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Julie McDonald Commentary: Family’s Experience a Cautionary Tale of Battling Biosolids

On Sunday afternoon, for the second week in a row, dozens of people crowded into a room — this time New Life Assembly of God Church in Toledo — to learn about the dangers of biosludge.


Posted Monday, March 7, 2022 4:49 pm

By Julie McDonald / For The Chronicle

When I heard about plans for spreading biosludge on Layton Prairie, I cringed.

For more than three decades, I listened to my sister-in-law Linda Zander recount the dangers of human waste spread on agricultural land that she said destroyed the dairy farm she and my brother-in-law operated for 26 years near Lynden. She collected more than 75 boxes filled with documents, photos, diaries, test results and testimonials for use as evidence in lawsuits. She said heavy metals — zinc, copper, lead and manganese — left behind by sludge spread on an adjacent neighbor’s 70-acre field sickened many of their 150 dairy cows and contaminated their wells. She contended contaminated well water gave my brother-in-law Ray Zander nickel poisoning and caused neurological damage in their grandchildren. She said 16 families experienced illness from the sludge.

During her battle, Linda founded an organization called Help for Sewage Sludge Victims and contended she often faced harassment and threats.

She filed a lawsuit in Whatcom County Superior Court against the haulers, the municipalities dumping the sludge and the neighbors who let it be spread on their farmland, but it was dismissed by summary judgment Oct. 8, 1993. She appealed, but the Washington Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court decision July 31, 1995, and the Washington Supreme Court refused to review the decision.
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Poultry waste, sewage sludge from other states flowing into rural Alabama

Updated: Mar. 03, 2022, 2:54 p.m. | Published: Mar. 03, 2022, 7:45 a.m.

By Dennis Pillion |
In the peaceful and serene rolling foothills of north Alabama, the old Hidden Valley dairy farm is now a poultry waste storage area.

Tanker trucks unload a slurry of reeking goo taken from poultry processing plants, pouring the ooze into holding ponds, which emit a sharp, acrid stench that reaches neighbors in Morgan County.

“The smell in summertime is so horrendous, you can’t even stand to walk outside your own house,” said Robert Chandler, who owns 80 acres next to the sludge farm.

Chandler and his neighbors, who live about 20 miles south of Decatur, are among the growing list of Alabama residents who say their lives have been disrupted by biosolids – the leftover sludge from wastewater treatment plants that process human sewage and from industrial wastewater, such as the leftover bits from chicken rendering plants.

The mixture is often trucked into Alabama from other states and then applied, at least in name, as fertilizer to fields in rural areas. And the profits often flow back out-of-state, as two of the major companies handling sludge are based elsewhere.
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Biosolids may be coming to Toledo

By Lynnette Hoffman
Published: February 28, 2022

Lewis County residents attended a meeting to advocate against biosolids last Sunday.

On a rainy Sunday afternoon, about 100 people gathered at the farm of Tom and Sharon Layton. They were there to discuss a new business that is coming to Layton Prairie that may have serious adverse effects on the residents and quality of water and soil. The business is called Bio-Solids, but most refer to it as sewer sludge.

Currently there are 400 acres set aside for this in Layton Prairie that have recently been purchased by Dan Ritola along with acreage owned by Greg Armstrong. The company paying these individuals to spread biosolids is Tribeca. Spreading biosolids is a very lucrative business.

Biosolids that are class B are defined as: Biosolids Class B have undergone treatment that has reduced but not eliminated pathogens Bio-solids, commonly referred to as sewer sludge, is human waste that has gone through a sewer treatment plant.

The guest speaker at this event, Richard Honour with the Precautionary Group, has his doctorate and has studied sewer sledge, discussed the many hazards on health and animals who are eating foods treated with biosolids. In fact, Richard has been in the sewer sludge business since the 1960s and he has endured several types of cancer related to sewer sludge. He stated, "nearly all chronic diseases of man are incited in low levels of contaminants or pollutants. Long term exposure to sewer sludge has caused cancer and other chronic illnesses.

Richard stated, "Don't believe it's safe, it's toxic waste. There is no such thing as safe sewer sludge." Many wonder why they are hazards to your health, all medications end up in the sewage. Antibiotics that are in human waste end up on the field, as does every medication, chemical and illness.

Jeff Wilson is an activist against sewer sludge who lives in Toledo. He worked in the business and stated, "there were 60 of us, now only 5 are remaining alive."

The effects of sewer sludge have killed 55 of his friends.
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