Contact: Tom Randall at 773-857-5086 or [email protected]
For Immediate Release: July 2002
Dust carried by the wind could potentially be laced with a deadly biological cocktail: staphylococcus aureus, a dangerous pathogen that is often the cause of serious hospital infections. This killer is combined with chemical irritants such as lyme that make the skin and lungs more susceptible to infection. What is our government doing about this verified lethal threat to public health? The government is actually encouraging practices that could increase the spread of these deadly pathogens.
Furthermore, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) managers are trying to oust an EPA scientist who is pointing out the dangers of the government's policy on sludge.
This lethal dust is created by municipal sewage containing human hospital waste along with chemical and other waste that is processed and spread on land used for agriculture. Since 1993, the EPA has encouraged the application of this partially treated waste - officially called Class B Biosolids, or sludge - on farm fields as a "fertilizer."
"A new study links the application of sludge to two deaths in Pennsylvania and numerous illnesses - some serious - around the country," said Tom Randall, director of The National Center for Public Policy Research's John P. McGovern, MD Center for Environmental and Regulatory Affairs. "The link was found by a team of researchers led by EPA scientist Dr. David Lewis. Dr. Lewis is known worldwide for his work on the persistence of pathogens in the environment."
When sludge containing pathogens dries, the particles can circulate through the air and the toxins can be inhaled. In addition to the Lewis study, a two-year study by the National Research Council (NRC) coincides with the Lewis findings. More importantly, the NRC study says the science that the EPA used to make its 1993 decision on sludge was inadequate.
"The EPA never even considered the possible effects of combining a bacterium with an irritant that would make it more dangerous," Randall added. "The most amazing aspect of this story is that Dr. Lewis has been critical of his own agency's sludge policy for years. For his forthright attitude, the EPA has been trying to force him out for years."
The John P. McGovern, MD Center for Environmental and Regulatory Affairs is a project of The National Center For Public Policy Research, a non-partisan, non-profit education foundation. For more information, contact Tom Randall at T773-857-5086 or [email protected].