Giving FDA More Power and More Money is NOT the Answer, Changing National Sewage Policy Is
by Guest Blogger, Jim Bynum, Vice President of Help for Sewage Victims
The House recently passed a new food safety bill (HR2749) giving the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) new power and more money. According to recently discovered documents, this will do nothing to protect our food. Since 1980 it has been the official national policy to dispose of sewage waste on grazing land, fruits and vegetables, parks school grounds and home lawns. The policy was signed by EPA, FDA and USDA based on the premise that EPA had a mandate from Congress under Public Law 92-500 (Clean Water Act) to prevent sewage effluents (water and sludge) from being released into surface water. At that time there were more that 3,000 municipal sewage treatment land application sites in operation. However, most states balked at using land treatment systems without additional secondary treatment and EPA refused to fund those treatment systems.
Sewage Treatment Plants Mass Produce Bad Bacteria
Shortly after the national policy was created in 1980, EPA studies documented that sewage treatment plants were creating antibiotic resistant bacteria. According to EPA in 1982, “present-day conventional waste water treatment — “poisons the rivers and streams” Not only that, but drinking water treatment plants were picking up the antibiotic resistant bacteria and adding chlorine resistance to their armor. Furthermore, Milwaukee’s Milorganite and Chicago Metropolitan Sewage District’s sludge as well as 50% of the other municipalities could not meet the national policy requirement.
Studies Show Public Health, Ecosystem Harmed by Toxic Sludge
Documents show: 1) chemical build up in animals that may effect the first and second generation, as well as those who eat certain animal parts; 2) bacteria were found to be viable for over 70 weeks on grazing land; 3) composting cause bacterial desiccation (dry up) which only lasted until proper moisture was available; and 4) there were even problems with land filling sludge. EPA states, “Environmental and public health risks include leachate contamination of water and soil resources, destruction of native fauna and flora, obnoxious odors, aerosol and dust generation, pathogen transmission, and other related nuisances.– The risk of transmitting disease is of major concern for the various sludge disposal practices. The direct pathways for disease transmission from sludge land filling operations include aerosols, vector transport, direct contact, groundwater and surface runoff.”
The solution was to use the exclusions in the environmental laws and allow municipalities to dispose of sewage effluents and sludge where it wasn’t regulated: “A key advantage of land application is that it usually takes place on privately owned land. Thus, the municipalities can avoid the high cost of acquiring land for disposal sites, or constructing expensive sludge processing facilities.” Bacteria survival in sludge and the associated animal infections were never a consideration in the studies.
Swiss Researchers Discover Salmonella, Sludge Link
Switzerland documented the first a positive association of Salmonella in sludge and a cycle of infection existing from man-sludge-animals-man almost 40 years ago. The Shigella gene was transferred into E. coli to create 0157:H7 about 35 years ago and the first documented infection was a naval office in Oakland, Ca. in 1975.
Farmers know colibacillus (E. coli) may cause the scours (diarrhea) or death in young calves as well as mastitis in older cows. It does the same to humans. What the farmer doesn’t know is the fecal coliform test used to prove sludge/biosolids is safe, only reveals a few E. coli that have inhibited growth at the test’s high temperature. All other enteric bacteria (coliform) growth is suppressed at the high temperature. At normal temperatures E. coli will triple every hour multiplying into millions in just a few hours.
Sludge / biosolids is basically a biofilm created by bacteria encapsulating bacteria, viruses, and organic materials. Antibiotic resistant biofilms will also grow in your body, on your teeth (plaque) and in water pipes as well as on your fruits and vegetables. In the body biofilms cause chronic inflammation, heart attacks, strokes, lung disease, etc.
Congress Funds Sludge Pushing Studies, PR Campaigns
With the above documented facts in mind, Congress has funded millions of dollars of fluff studies and public relations programs to convince farmers and the public that sewage effluents and products such as sludge/biosolids are safe for use on grazing land, food crops, parks, school grounds, home lawns and gardens. Farms have been destroyed, cattle have been killed, people have suffered serious irreversible illnesses and many have died needlessly.
In the 1970s Congress enacted cradle-to-the-grave legislation for control of hazardous chemicals and waste. What we got is cradle to agricultural and home lawns as Congress neglects its responsibilities. According to the Congressional COMMITTEE ON OVERSIGHTAND GOVERNMENT REFORM letter to EPA on endocrine disruptor screening program. “Over the past ten years, EPA has not completed a single step of this multi-stage process.” “assuming that EPA identified the same number of chemicals  for testing each year, testing for the pesticide chemicals alone would not be completed for roughly 30 years, and testing for other chemicals listed under the TSCA Inventory [75,000] could take hundreds of years. This pace is unacceptably slow and fails to protect the American public from thousands of dangerous chemicals that may interfere with vital biological processes.
Current Food Safety Efforts Evade the Real Problem
Lying to the American people and putting our health in jeopardy is unacceptable. It is also unacceptable for Congress to give agency employees immunity and the right to ignore or change the laws at will. Moreover, giving these agencies more power, more money, and more people to regulate food safety, a problem they created with the national sewage policy, is shear madness.
William Sanjour, Chief of the EPA Solid Waste Division, warned in 1978, that EPA was going to end up in court looking like fools over this national policy. Congress did not heed the warning of EPA’s best: Sanjour, Hugh Kaufman or David Lewis who fought for public health and suffered badly. It is time to stop this madness.
The goals of food safety and health reform are laudable. However, the government needs to actually protect public health by focusing on cradle to grave control of waste that is hazardous to public health.
This is where the money should be spent, not on ineffective regulations.
Jim Bynum is the Vice President of Help for Sewage Victims, a retired safety consultant, hazardous material transportation trainer, and farmer. Sludge runoff from the Kansas City, MO sewage disposal site contaminated his fields. High levels of salmonella and ecoli 0157:H7 forced him to stop farming. He has since sold that farm.
What Can You Do?
The latest research of early studies on toxic biosolids can be found on our website, thewatchers.us.
A petition to stop this madness can be found at. http://www.thepetitionsite.com/2/help-ban-sludge
Call your Senator and tell them to “Vote NO” on S510, the Senate version of the food safety bill.
Become a fan of Stop! HR2749 and S510 “Food Safety” Bills in Facebook.
This post is part of the Fight Back Fridays’ blog carnival, hear from more food activists on FoodRenegade.com.