Letters to the Editor

Stronger biosolids regulations needed

Congratulations to Rep. Mike Hanna for introducing HB 738 and promising to fight for more protective sludge regulations.

Biosolids — a pollutant-rich mixture of human and toxic industrial waste — should not be applied on fields as fertilizer.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s own data, biosolids contain priority pollutants, carcinogens, mutagens, EDCs, unregulated harmful metals (some in very high concentrations), solvents, pharmaceuticals, PCBs, flame retardants and superbugs.

For a partial list of hazardous chemicals that industries can legally pipe into sewage treatment plants, see www.sludgefacts.org/Ref125.pdf. According to the most recent biosolids report by the National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. regulations are outdated and based on deeply flawed risk assessment models.

No wonder that hundreds of sludge-exposed rural neighbors in 38 states have reported identical life-threatening respiratory symptoms. Several deaths — two in Pennsylvania — have been linked to sludge exposure.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection conveniently covered up the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Tony Behun and Daniel Pennock (www.sludgefacts.org/IJOEH_1104_Snyder.pdf) and then provided this misinformation to the NAS, which also deleted other research documenting illnesses and deaths, so that the final report could state that no one was ever harmed by sludge.

Hopefully those appointed to the review committee will be non-conflicted and impartial. Otherwise their report will have no credibility. For some biosolids myths being spread by industry and government, see www.sludgefacts.org/Ref126.pdf.

Caroline Snyder, North Sandwich, N.H.

The writer is emeritus professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology, where she designed and taught environmental science courses and chaired the department of science, technology and society.

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