Toxic Sewage Sludge in Your Food
December 17, 2009
The increasing use of sewage sludge as fertilizer for your food is an under-publicized and often hidden threat.
Sludge is the toxic mix that is created by our municipal wastewater treatment facilities. Just about anything that is flushed down toilets or that ends up in sewers is in this sludge; the pollutants in sludge come not just from household sewage, but also from every hospital, industrial plant, and stormwater drain.
For a long time, sludge was simply dumped in the oceans. Over time, it became apparent that this was an environmental and human health disaster. An alternative solution has been pushed since the 1980's by the U.S. government. The EPA determined that a good way to dispose of treated sewage sludge was to legally distribute it as a cheap alternative to fertilizer.
Unsurprisingly, scientific analysis of the poisons in sewage sludge shows it's the wrong, and dangerous, solution for U.S. farmers and communities. Unfortunately, many American farmers and gardeners are unknowingly using sludge-derived "compost," which is given away free in many cities throughout the United States.
As a result, farms and homes across the country have been unknowingly spreading hazardous chemicals and heavy metals on their fields, lawns and gardens.
Meanwhile, Michael Mack, the chief executive of Syngenta, a Swiss agribusiness giant that makes pesticides, is waging war against the organic movement as a whole. He argues that, "Organic food is not only not better for the planet. It is categorically worse."
"If the whole planet were to suddenly switch to organic farming tomorrow, it would be an ecological disaster," he said. Pesticides, he argued, "have been proven safe and effective and absolutely not harmful to the environment or to humans."
Of course, Mr. Mack dismissed the notion that Syngenta, a company that sold nearly $12-billion worth of "crop protection" technologies last year, felt threatened by the organic movement.