CONCLUSION

Finally, Shayne Connor isn't the only death that we know about from exposure to sludge.

  • In Pennsylvania, an eleven-year-old boy rode his motor bike across a mine reclamation site right after it had been spread with sludge. He didn't know it was dangerous. He died.

  • In Pennsylvania, a seventeen-year-old boy was exposed to sludge that had been spread on a field across the street. He died.

  • In Florida, an eleven-year-old boy rode his dirt bike through a neighbor's pasture after it had been sludged. He was hospitalized for four days with a serious viral intestinal disease. He survived.

  • In 1996, a teacher brought in bags of Class A sludge fertilizer to be used on a school garden. At the same time, Class B sludge that was to be spread on two ball fields adjacent to the school was stored in piles in the field near a public pathway. A ten-year-old boy was a member of the class that worked on the school garden. He also walked on the pathway past the piles of sludge to get home. After heavy rains, runoff from the sludge piles covered the pathway. The boy developed numerous rare muscle tumors and was subjected to radiation and chemotherapy treatments. After two years, he died.

In our research, we found several reports of cattle that died after eating grass or grain from sludged fields. And there were reports of cattle coming down with arthritis, deformities, and liver and kidney failures. There were also higher incidences of abortions.

We also found that Class B sewage sludge is being sprayed over forests in national parks and spread on golf courses.

Then there was one of our more icky discoveries. We found that industrial waste also includes human body fluids that have been flushed down the drains at mortuaries.

Helane Shields, a sludge researcher and member of Citizens for a Future New Hampshire is currently compiling thousands of case histories and letters from people who have gotten sick after exposure to sludge. Shields' Sludge Victims Report is referenced on p. 109 of the NAS July, 2002 report.5 EPA's Office of Water and the sludge industry are still saying sludge victims don't exist. They are able to take this stand because they have diligently refused to look at any of the information. They say that these illnesses are psychosomatic and caused by public hysteria.

† † †

WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT SLUDGE

Here's the resolution and hope part of this paper.

The Sludge Scandal dam (the Science - Government - Sludge Industry Triangle) is finally weakening. Joanne Marshall's successful lawsuit in January, 2002 dealt a solid blow. Shortly after, on April 3, 2002, EPA Office of Inspector General warned that 'EPA cannot assure the public that current land application practices [of sewage sludge] are protective of human health and the environment.'7 (However, EPA currently permits over 3.5 million metric dry tons of sewage sludge to be land applied on farm land and forests throughout the United States. Folks, it's a growing industry. We currently 'create' approximately 6 million metric dry tons of sewage sludge annually. This industry aims to double its operation.) National Academy of Sciences published their study of the 503 Sludge Rules earlier than planned, which included the weaknesses that I listed for you in this paper. Despite these developments, this triangle isn't just going to fold and disappear on its own. There's too much money involved and too many people are benefitting financially from the status quo.

What's needed now is for as many people as possible to lean against that triangle and push it down. The interesting thing is that the Science - Government - Sludge Industry Triangle is actually a house of cards. It is based on faulty, out-of-date science, government greed and corporate greed. It may look powerful, but it actually isn't. The two groups of people with the greatest power in this situation are the farmers and the public/community. The farmers can stop this industry and the triangle tomorrow. All they have to do is say 'no' to having their land sludged. That's all it takes to stop it.

Public response can put science on notice that their solution (land application of sludge) to the legitimate nationwide problem of getting rid of over 6 million metric dry tons of sewage sludge each year is not acceptable, and scientists must go back to the drawing board to come up with a solution that does not put our health, land and water at risk. Remember, the public is the final 'lab rat' in this process. Scientists address a problem and hammer together a solution. They then study and test the solution. Then they 'release' that solution so that it can be applied for and by those of us in everyday life. Whatever they don't discover or choose to ignore in their scientific process gets played out in our lives. In this case, it's our health, our water and our land that are on the line. As the ultimate lab rats, we are proving that land-applied sewage sludge is not an acceptable solution and we can insist that these people return to their labs and try again.

Public response can also put government officials on notice. We need to let them know this situation causes us concern, and if they don't pay attention to it and do something about it, these officials won't have their jobs come the next election.

Here's what we need to do nowto push this house of cards down:

  1. Be vigilant. Don't let sludge be spread on any more land. This would include the so-called 'safer' Class A sludge that Dr. Lewis warned us about that is sold in nurseries and garden centers for home garden use.

    By the way, Class A sewage sludge that is sold in bags at garden centers is hard to identify. We found only one company that listed sewage sludge as part of its contents on the bag. It contained a warning label about health hazards on the bag, as well. The other companies did not identify sludge in its contents, yet it was common knowledge among the guys working in that department that sludge was included in nearly every fertilizer they sold. Some bags that are clearly marked straight 'organic' without any qualifiers are safe. However, if the bag says something like 'contains ORGANICS' (the word 'Organic' is always huge and prominent) or 'contains natural products' or something like this, it most likely has Class A sewage sludge. So, beware.

  2. Educate. Educate. Educate. Talk to your family, friends, neighbors, farmers, gardeners and lawn gurus. Remember: Our ignorance is the sludge industry's bliss.

    To help you when you are talking to others, I am making this paper available for you to print off from our website: Printable PDF. You can email, print or copy this article and give to as many people as possible.

    I also have an audio tape of a presentation of this paper I gave in September, 2002. If it's easier for someone to listen to the information than read it, loan them your tape. You can order a copy of the CD or audio downloadfrom our website, or call us at Perelandra at 1-800-960-8806.

    Keep copies of this paper, Sewage Sludge/'Biosolids': A Health and Environmental Crisis and Scandal, in your car, office, locker or briefcase. You never know when you are going to run into an opportunity to give the information to others. Just a few weeks ago, a friend and I were at a big, suburban garden center. I was in one section looking at some plants and she was in another section. At one point she came to me and said, "Here's an interesting situation and I'm not sure what to do. There's a couple near me talking about spreading sludge on their lawn — and she's pregnant. Should I say something to them?" We decided that the best thing was to let them know that we were researching the problems with 'biosolids' and that if they were interested, we'd e-mail them some information. They were interested. They said they knew nothing about biosolids and that it had been recommended to them by a friend who was using it on his lawn. (We found that frequently people decide to use sludge because it is recommended by a friend. Beyond that, they know nothing about what biosolids are. They do not know it is sludge.) At the time, I was still writing this paper and didn't have copies available. It would have been so easy for us to just get a copy from the car and hand it to this couple.

    Keep our website address in your wallet. If you don't have copies of this paper or the audio tape to loan out, you can always get the information to the person by having them go to our web site. We have the complete paper posted. The point is, it's important to respond to every opportunity to educate.

    Don't underestimate kids. They should be taught that land-applied sludge is wrong. A science teacher who attended one of my talks told me afterwards that she was going to make sure every one of her kids this year know about the sludge issue and why it's wrong. A lot of kids got their parents to stop smoking when they (the kids) found out smoking was harmful. They can be persistent and effective once they understand the issue. So, encourage your children's teachers to talk about this issue and talk to your kids about it as well.

    Land-applied sewage sludge is not just a local problem. It's a national and international problem. Educate all your friends and family, including the ones who live in other states or countries.

    Remain calm — and informed. Don't go around screaming, "We're gonna die! We're all gonna die!" No one wants to hear this kind of thing, and the person or people you are talking (screaming) to will just close down. Don't let them dismiss you because you are appearing insane.

  3. Act. Don't just talk to people about the sludge problem. We need as many people as possible to kick into action and dosomething about the problem now. Make sure you include this section, 'What You Can Do about Sludge,' when you give them the paper so that they will have the guidelines and suggestions for action.

    Write letters to your local, state and federal officials. (For writing the most effective letters, see #7 below.)

    Get kids to write letters to their state and federal politicians letting these officials know 503 stinks, land-applied sewage sludge is wrong, and they don't want to become ill from sludge or eat food grown in sludged soil.

    Notify local and large-city newspapers about the problem. Give them a copy of this paper. Also send the information to local magazines and environmentally focused TV and radio shows. Let them know that this is a serious situation and a scandal that they need to look into.

    Don't just focus on keeping sludge out of your neighborhood. When a community successfully stops sludging in their area, it means that there will be even more pressure on people, particularly those in the poorer areas, to spread sludge on their land. Land-applied sludge harms everyone's health and environment - rich and poor. Help these people deal with the sludge problem by remaining active and keeping the pressure on until a national and international moratorium is called for all land-applied sludge use.

Here's some more guidelines on what you can do:

  1. Find out if permits have been issued for sludge application in your area.
    • In Virginia, contact the State Health Department at 804-864-7000 for information about who to talk to in your county.

    • In other states, contact your state coordinator listed on this EPA web page to find out who approves sludge permits: www.epa.gov/owm/mtb/biosolids/biocords.pdf.

    • In Virginia, watch your local newspaper classified section. There will be a public meeting notice published at least seven days before the scheduled meeting and not more than 14 days prior. It will be in the general circulation newspaper for the area of the proposed application site. The notice will use the term 'biosolids' and other nice language (not sludge). It is the sludge company that writes the notice because they are applying for the permit (not the farmer).

    • Be aware, if there is an existing permit for sludge application and modification of that permit is requested by the sludge company, no public notification is required. They can increase the acreage from five to 5000 acres and you won't be told. So, you have to make the effort to get the information about an approved permit on a regular basis. Call and ask the questions.

  2. Establish health, soil and water baseline information immediately.If you find out sludge application is pending or approved for land near you, don't wait until the sludge has been applied to have tests done. You may need to sue the sludge company for damages and health-related issues. So far, the sludge industry has been successful in fighting suits by simply pointing out to juries that it cannot be proven that pollution and health issues that come up after sludge has been applied were not pre-existing. Establishing the pre-existing state of your health, soil and water counters this industry tactic. Also, be loud about getting those tests done. Don't be afraid to make it known to the industry and everyone around you that you and your neighbors are getting this information in hand prior to a sludge application. The industry can choose to back away from spreading sludge in your area if it knows you are lining up for a potential lawsuit. Your goal is to stop the spreading of sludge.
    • Have your soil and well water tested by reputable and objective professionals. Be sure to get a complete analysis done that will include extensive testing for heavy metals, chemicals, pesticides, antibiotics and microbes. Ask questions about what can be measured and be sure to explain how extensive you need the testing to be.

    • See a trusted physician to establish a baseline on your health condition and the condition of your family members. Tell your doctor you wish to establish a solid baseline and have it clearly recorded. Ask for a complete physical and find out what tests are recommended to establish information on the condition of your immune, respiratory and digestive systems especially.

  3. Begin taking the Perelandra Microbial Balancing Program Solutions: Take the Immune, Lymphatic, Digestive, Respiratory and Nervous System Balancing Solutions twice daily, as soon as you hear about a pending sludge application. Again, don't wait until after application or after health problems appear. Better yet, begin taking these MBP Solutions right away. The Solutions strengthen the body's systems and prepare your body for mounting the kind of battle it will face once sludge is spread. The more time you give these systems to strengthen by taking the MBP Solutions, the better. For information about the MBP Solutions, go to www.perelandra-ltd.com.

    NOTE: If you are not already a Perelandra customer or have no interest in the Perelandra products, please ignore suggestion #3.

  4. Talk to your neighboring farmer about your concerns regarding his planned sludge application. Remember that he is not the bad guy, he's your neighbor and most likely has respect for his land and wants to do what's best for his land. Find out what he knows about sludge and why he has made the choice to apply it. Be prepared — do your homework before you talk, be calm and understand he has most likely been 'prepared' for your objections by the sludge company and will have their answers to your concerns. Explain what you know about sludge, and offer him printed factual information or give him our web address so he can find out more for himself if he wishes. (This paper is posted on www.perelandra-ltd.com. He'll need to click on 'Health Watch' from the Home Page.)

    Take a cooperative attitude and find out if he is willing to consider alternatives, what's required of him to do that and if there is something you can do to help him. If his decision is solely financial (he's getting his fields fertilized at no cost and can't afford an alternative), consider offering to help him with the cost of fertilizing his fields with non-sludge fertilizers. The top priority is to stop the sludge from being applied. The outcome will be far more costly to you in money, health and land value than sharing the cost of fertilizing with the farmer. Offering to share the cost shows the farmer that you really care about this decision he is making and you are willing to share his burden. As for coming up with the money for your part: talk to the neighbors and get them to pitch in. Make it a community project. Point out to them that everyone wins. No one is going to have to deal with the serious problems brought on by land-applied sludge in your neighborhood. And no one's land value will decrease. By the way, this approach has been tested and tried, and it has worked.

  5. Talk to your neighbors about the pending sludge application. Share this information about what they can do, encourage them to establish health/soil/water baselines and give them a copy of our web address so they can easily find out more for themselves. Discuss what you could do as a community to work together to either prevent the application of sludge, help the farmer to find viable alternatives, or take on the sludge industry if it becomes necessary. Keep your focus on the facts, on prevention, on gathering scientific data that will hold up in court if necessary, and on education and publicity. Get the word out. Make it as public as possible and stick to the facts. Standing up in the middle of a meeting and screaming, "We're all going to be killed!" is not a helpful approach.

  6. Post warning signs on your property announcing that sludge has been applied to adjacent land and to be aware of possible health effects. Example sign: http://www.perelandra-ltd.com/-W291.aspx

    It's important to warn motorists passing a sludged field of the potential health dangers. Along with posting several of the small warning signs along your roadside property line, consider putting up a billboard-size (4' x 8' plywood sheet) hand-lettered sign so that passing motorists can read the information without having to get out of their cars. They'll be able to better monitor their health and can choose to travel a different route, thus minimizing their exposure to sludge.

  7. Write, fax or e-mail your local, state and federal officials. And get 49 others in your state to do the same. It takes just 50 protest letters to get these politicians to assign a staff member to research and look into an issue. For a list of who to write in your area, see the USA.gov web site: http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml. Get your church group, your classmates, your office co-workers and local environmental organizations involved in the letter writing. The letters cannot be boilerplates or mass produced. Nor can they be petitions.The staff ignores these mass produced things that have been cranked out by the gazillion. The letters need to be handwritten (preferred) or typed, and each needs to be different. (Don't write the same letter as your neighbor. Fifty people, fifty different letters.) Simply state that you are against the land application of sewage sludge or 'biosolids' and then list 3-4 reasons why you are opposed. Here's a sample list to choose from:

    • No pathogens risk assessment was performed for the 503 Sludge Rule.

    • Illnesses have been reported by those exposed to land-applied sludge and have not been investigated.

    • The 503 Sludge Rule failed an extensive peer-review by EPA's ORD scientists.

    • The EPA does not have an adequate program to ensure compliance with 503.

    • The technical basis for EPA's 503 is outdated.

    • No studies have been conducted on children, those with weakened immune systems and the elderly who have been exposed to sludge/biosolids.

    • There is a lack of requirements for labeling of products made from or grown in sludge/biosolids.

    • There is no monitoring required for viruses.

    • The National Academy of Sciences was asked to convene a panel to investigate the science and risk assessments behind the 503 sludge rule, especially as it relates to human health. The panel's report, released on July 2, concluded that the sludge regulations are not based on sound and recent science and that there is a critical need for EPA to investigate the growing number of complaints about illnesses that have been linked to sludge spreading.

    • The odor makes people sick and sludge/biosolids puts those living near sludged fields at risk for experiencing nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, migraine headaches, fever, flu-like symptoms, asthma attacks, sudden illness caused by viruses, bacteria and fungi, abscesses, tumors, cysts and allergies.

    • According to the CDC, the parasites in Class B sewage sludge can cause typhoid fever, dysentery, gastroenteritis, diarrhea, abdominal pain, cholera, hepatitis, meningitis, pneumonia, paralysis, encephalitis and severe respiratory problems.

  8. Check the Health Watch section of the Perelandra web site regularly for updates about sludge. Better yet, sign up for the Perelandra Operation EarthSave e-mailing list and be notified about important updates when they happen.

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Page 1: About Sludge | Conclusion and What You Can Do | Links to More Information
| Example of Warning Sign 2 | References

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained in this paper is complete and accurate. However, neither the publisher nor the author are engaged in rendering professional advice or services to the individual reader. The ideas, procedures and suggestions contained in this paper are not intended as a substitute for consulting with your physician. All matters regarding your health require medical supervision. Neither the author nor the publisher shall be liable or responsible for any loss, injury or damage allegedly arising from any information or suggestion in this paper. The opinions expressed in this paper represent the personal views of the author.