Submitted by John Stauber on
In our 1995 book Toxic Sludge Is Good for You, we examined how the Environmental Protection Agency and the sewage industry turned toxic sewage sludge into a "safe" fertilizer through PR, political bullying and weakened government regulations. Fourteen years later, Mother Jones revisits the issue, noting that "more than half the 15 trillion gallons of sewage Americans flush annually is biologically scrubbed, 'dewatered,' and processed into products with names like BioEdge, Nitrohumus, and Vital Cycle and spread on farmland, lawns, and home vegetable gardens. ... Sludge could be the ultimate growth industry; as one trade publication observes dryly, 'There will continue to be more wastewater solids to manage with every passing year.' ... [A]s sludge has spread across the country, so have concerns that it may cause as many environmental problems as it solves. In communities where sludge has been used, residents have reported ailments ranging from migraines to pneumonia to mysterious deaths."