National Sludge Alliance Fact Sheets

Public Facts #118



* "Hugh Kaufman is a troublemaker," said the Pulitzer prize winning Kansas City Star environmental reporter, as he
worked on his story about the danger of pig manure being spread on cropland. Kaufman is an environmental engineer
for the EPA who dropped a bombshell on the June 27, 1997 CNN "Hazardous Harvest" report when he said it was official
government policy, to grow our food crops on poison and not tell the public. Kaufman, who exposed the EPA coverup of
toxic waste dumping at Love Canal in New York and Times Beach in Missouri, is telling the truth. The people of Love
Canal and Times Beach were removed from those sites, but where are we going to move the farmers after all the
farmland is poisoned beyond use and where will our food come from?

* The reporter is or should be aware that the EPA's sludge dumping policy which is a major cause of 80 million cases of
food poisoning annually is based on an exclusion in the RCRA for hazardous materials which enter a sewage treatment
plant, not for the sludge generated from the treatment plant as a fertilizer, and an exclusion in the CERCLA for
commercial fertilizer. Yet, it would appear the reporter has been taken in by the EPA's public relations campaign to
blame unregulated use of cow and pig manure as a fertilizer for the food poisoning incidents. (Public Facts #100, #101,
#116 & 117)

* Depending on the type of sewage sludge, heat dried Class A, semi-dry Class A or B, or wet Class B, there could be up
to 2 million fecal coliform bacteria per gram of weight which is used as an indicator of the known and unknown bacteria,
viruses , parasites (worms), and fungi in sewage sludge which  can cause every type of disease known to mankind. The
worms can get in the stomach, heart and brain. All of the sludge Classes could have unknown quantities of the 275 toxic
priority pollutants which EPA warns could cause death, disease, cancer, as well as physical and mental problems and
genetic defects in children when exposure is either direct or indirect through the food-chain. Yet, EPA claims the sewage
sludge is a safe fertilizer for lawns, gardens, food crop production land and forest even though a computer risk analysis
was done on only 10 of the toxic pollutants in sludge.

* However, EPA claims that no one can be held responsible for any human health damages or environmental damages
caused by the use of sludge or hazardous waste as a fertilizer because they are allowing the dumping on cropland
under the two exclusions in the laws, plus, there is an implied federal permit under the regulations and the public
relations campaign has generated a scientific report from the National Science Academy which concluded sewage
sludge could be used safely on food crops (based on information supplied by EPA) and if all the federal rules worked as
Congress intended. (Public Facts #100, #101, #109)

* Actually, there has never been a single scientific human health study on the use of sewage sludge or hazardous waste
as fertilizer which says they are safe for use on food crop production land. In fact, the National Academy of Science
report never included the only limited human health study of sludge used as a fertilizer on farmland in the United States.
The only reference to that study in the report was based on athird party abstract. (Public Facts #109)

* In the case of sewage sludge and hazardous waste considered to be fertilizers, the laws don't work --- EPA rules are
based on policy decisions. Since EPA began operating on December 2, 1970, major new environmental laws have been
enacted and important amendments to older laws in the 70s and 80s greatly expanded EPA's responsibilities. "The
Agency now administers ten comprehensive environmental protection laws. The Clean Air Act (CAA); the Clean Water
Act (CWA); the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA); the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and
Recovery Act (CERCLA, or Superfund); The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA); the Federal Insecticide,
Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA); the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA); the Marine Protection, Research, and
Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA); Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act (UMTRCA; and the Pollution Prevention Act
(PPA)." (EPA 220-B-95-004, p. 3, 1995/1996)

* It appears to be the EPA's contention that the American public, media reporters, scientists and law makers as well as
other federal agencies are not very intelligent where the environmental laws are concerned. However, EPA has mistaken
the public's  trust as a lack of intelligence, which is not the case. This misplaced trust of the public, media reporters,
scientists and law makers is based on the belief that: "The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implements the
federal laws designed to promote public health by protecting our Nation's air, water, and soil from harmful pollution."
(EPA 220-B-95-004, p. 3, 1995/1996)

* In reality, in spite of the Congressional intent to close the last loophole in the environmental regulations, the EPA has
arbitrarily created two loopholes that do not exist in any law. The questions are, why would the EPA's top sludge scientist
, Dr. Alan Rubin, an organic chemist, who supervised the creation of the sludge dumping regulation, base the regulation
on exclusions in the laws that don't pertain to sewage sludge? Particularly, since as a scientist, he had to have read the
1981 Cornell study which showed that the toxic organics in sludge could kill animals without leaving a trace marker in the
body to indicate the cause of death. Not only that, but why would the EPA loan Dr. Rubin to the Water Environment
Federation (WEF) and pay half his salary, as its Chief sales person to promote the use of sludge as a fertilizer? The
EPA is supposed to regulate the sludge producing and disposal members of the WEF. We also need to ask why the
EPA would give the WEF 1.2 million dollars to debunk the horror stories (human health problems in Washington and
Wisconsin, dead cattle in Vermont, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Missouri, Washington, California and horses in
Oklahoma) associated with sludge use when neither the EPA or WEF will investigate the stories, nor can they finalize the
10 debunking fact sheets? After two years of work, they still do not have their facts straight. And finally, why would the
EPA tell the U.S. Department of Transportation that toxic contaminated sewage sludge is a simple waste, when it
acknowledges that by definition, sewage sludge is a hazardous material because it can contaminate the air, water, soil,
food crops and fish as well as shellfish? (Public Facts #101)

* Sewage sludge is safe when used as a beneficial fertilizer under the part 503 regulation, claims the EPA, except the
exceptional quality sludge fertilizer is too contaminated with heavy metals to be disposed of in a part 503 regulated
sludge only surface disposal site. There is no chromium limit (which was 3,000) in the beneficial section of the
regulation, but chromium is restricted to 600 ppm in the sludge only surface disposal section. The only difference
between a beneficial use site and a sludge only surface disposal site is the intent of the dumper, to either consider it a
fertilizer or a solid waste. The laws (RCRA and CWA require that solid wastes from pollution control treatment plants be
disposed of in a municipal sanitary landfill or a sludge only surfaced disposal site (landfill). (Public Facts #110,

* EPA has made a mockery of every environmental law with its policy of dumping sewage sludge and hazardous waste
as fertilizers and the U.S. Department of Health regulations which "control" the transportation of disease causing
organisms as well as the Department of Transportation regulations which "control" the transportation of hazardous
materials and disease causing organisms. Lets not forget the OSHA regulations which "protect" the workers. Every one
in the United States is protected from the dangerous chemicals and diseases in the workplace, except the truck driver,
the farmer and our food supply.

* The State of Pennsylvania fined a trucking company for backhauling food products in sludge contaminated trucks and
a Los Angeles sanitation truck driver had to wonder about the safety of sludge, as he was blown out of the drivers seat
by a spontaneous explosion caused by a methane build up from the sludge in his vehicle. (1997- Sludge Vol.22 No.4)

* And what about the U.S. Department of Agricultural (USDA)? Its primary responsibility should be the protection of our
food-chain crops. Yet, Rufus Chaney has been one of the major forces in promoting the dumping of toxic and hazardous
waste as a fertilizer in the United States and criticizes Canada's approach to food safety by not allowing high
concentrations of heavy metals in fertilizer.. According to Duff Wilson's article in the Seattle Times "Here's what's known,
and not known about toxics, plants and soil", July 3,  1997, Chaney of the USDA's Research Service says, "It is
irresponsible to create unnecessary limits that cost a lot of money."

* Like Rubin, Chaney says "consumers have little, if any reason for concern. Chaney's studies, since 1976, indicate that
dangerous substances are highly unlikely to move through the food chain to humans, he said." (Wilson, July 3, 1997)
Yet, Chaney's own 1984 study showed there was a serious. USDA studies indicated that tobacco plant took up cadmium
at a rate of 15 to 20 ppm for every 1 (one) ppm in the soil. In effect, based on the study, tobacco plants would multiply
the 39 ppm of cadmium in exceptional quality sludge to 780 ppm in the plant. What happens to the other toxic metals?  
What about other food crops? Not only that, but EPA has information which shows (in the regulation) that exposure to
any of the pollutants in sludge may kill you when exposure isthrough the food-chain. (40 CFR 503.9 (t)) (Public Facts

* The question is, what does Chaney consider to be a dangerous substance? In 1976, when the first studies were done,
the EPA and USDA only considered cadmium and PCB's to be dangerous in food crop production. Lead was wonderful
in gasoline and paint. And it had been less than twenty years since the major book on fertilizer called toxic heavy metals
"rare earths". Perhaps Chaney never caught up with his scientific reading or he would have discovered that the National
Institute of Occupational Safety and Health Institute (NIOSH) lists all of the "rare earths" as poisons. The 1995
EPA/CERCLA list of toxic priority pollutants found in landfills now includes 275 substances that will cause disease,
cancer, death, physical and mental problems as well as genetic defects when exposure is through the food chain.
(Public Facts #108)

* As the scientists responsible for promoting the use of toxic sewage sludge and hazardous waste as a fertilizer Rubin
and Chaney have an advantage over the general public and farmers. They have to know the toxic organics in sewage
sludge can kill without leaving a trace in the body. They also know that the toxic heavy metals build up in the animal as
well as human system over a long period of time (from 5 to 20 years) so that a scientific connection would not be
generally made between the sickness and toxic sludge or hazardous waste poisoning.

* Both Rubin and Chaney are also aware, if they did the basic research, that EPA deliberately put the American public
and farmers at risk by removing the hazardous waste labeling requirement for fertilizers using hazardous waste materials
in 1984 because farmers would not accept hazardous waste mixtures as a fertilizer for food crop production or
otherwise. It is all outlined in the Federal Register. Neither hazardous waste or toxic sewage sludge was supposed to be
used on food crops. The use of either one as a fertilizer was considered to be for purposes of disposal, which
constitutes open dumping under fereral laws. (public facts #100, #101, #118)

* With millions of dollars at stake in the waste disposal business we can understand why many ex-EPA officials are
working for the waste industry. Where do Rubin and Chaney fit in this picture and why was Chaney recently lobbying in
New York State against more restrictive disposal laws. -LSI-