Toxic Sludge Is Good For You!
Human waste is so contaminated with pharmaceuticals and pesticides and BPAs and our own awful diets that human poo is *likely* quite bad as fertilizer. We don't know, as all research into it has met with bad ends. (See the book TOXIC SLUDGE IS GOOD FOR YOU for more info.)
The culprit? The Dillo Dirt, a compost whose central component is highly treated human waste, known in waste-management circles as biosolids. In cities across the United States, biosolids are being used to achieve greater civic efficiency while reducing costs. But concerns over regulation and health effects and a general uneasiness with our bowel movements—sterilized or not—are providing fodder for punny poop headlines in newspapers large and small.
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So why are groups such as the Sierra Club or the Organic Consumers Association raising a stink (sorry) about biosolids? They say that outdated regulation, the potential for illness, and the unknown cocktail of components found in human waste make biosolids a disconcerting trend. And research on the long-term health effects of biosolids and their components appears scarce. A 2009 study of the biosolids produced by 74 publicly owned waste treatment facilities found metals, pharmaceuticals, steroids, hormones, flame retardants, and other chemicals in the samples. “It is not appropriate to speculate on the significance of the results until a proper evaluation has been completed and reviewed,” the EPA said of the study. A 2002 University of Georgia study of 48 individuals found that participants living within 1 kilometer of sites where biosolids were applied to the land suffered from skin rashes and burning of the eyes, throat, and lungs after exposure to winds blowing from the treated fields.