San Francisco's Free "Organic Biosolids Compost" is Toxic Sludge, and Not Good For You!

Independent testing commissioned by the Food Rights Network found toxic contaminants in San Francisco's sewage sludge "compost." In the sludge product given away free to gardeners from 2007 to March 4, 2010, are contaminants with endocrine-disruptive properties including PBDE flame retardants, nonylphenol detergent breakdown products, and the antibacterial agent triclosan. The independent tests were conducted for the Food Rights Network by Dr. Robert C. Hale of the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences.

Watch a CBS 5 KPIX August 10, 2010 report providing a startling story of how San Francisco is violating its own precautionary principle law by dumping toxic sludge on city gardens.


Organic sewage sludge compost is a scientific myth used to dump sludge on the public. Sludge Compost is claimed to be a Class A biosolids with less than 1,000 colonies (millions of bacteria per colony) of thermotolerant Enterobacteriaceae per gram of dry sludge that grow at 112.1degF based on a fecal coliform test for E. coli and Klebsiella. It is claimed that is proof that there are no pathogens present which makes it safe for direct public contact. The outright lie is that the colonies are reported to the public as individual bacteria (colony forming Unit or most probable number), unless the public is told all pathogens are destroyed. The problem is that San Francisco ignores all 30 gram negative pathogens in the Enterobacteriaceae family that enjoy explosive growth at 98.6degF as well as all other pathogens in the bacteria group and viruses, helminths an protozoa. We don't want to forget the 1981 Los Angeles' compost study "Factors Affecting Salmonellae Repopulation in Composted Sludges" "The indigenous salmonellae initiating this growth had survived in a desiccated state for over 1 year prior to providing the proper moisture-temperature combination for the repopulation to occur." The 1988 Los Angeles' study "Occurrence of Pathogens in Distribution and Marketing Municipal Sludges" was more significant. "Although the use of sludge as a soil amendment is attractive, it is not without potential health risks. Toxic chemicals, including heavy metals and industrial organics, may enter the food chain and present long-term health risks." The bacteria Yersinia (pestis -plague?) was consistently found in static pile compost. CDC authorities state, "Outbreaks in people still occur in rural communities or in cities." significant increases in bacterial populations, including salmonellae, occurred during subsequent production of commercial soil amendment products. Jim Bynum