Sewage Sludge and Nanotechnology

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WARNING! Sewage sludge is toxic. Food should not be grown in "biosolids." Join the Food Rights Network.

Nanoparticles are 1/10,000 the diameter of a human hair and are being found in consumer products and sewage sludge. Scientists are starting to investigate which nanoparticles are dangerous to human health.[1]

Banned Pesticides Found in Sewage Sludge

Study focused on gathering published data about the amounts and sources of the chemicals found in sewage sludge around the world, including the United States, Canada, China and several European countries. The amounts and sources of several organochlorine pesticides were compared. Organochlorines found were: aldrin, chlordane, dieldrin, heptachlor, hexachlorbenzene and DDT. Australian researchers find that organochlorine pesticides remain in sewage sludge for more than 10 years. DDE, the breakdown product of DDT, and dieldrin are still found at detectable levels in some countries, suggesting it takes even longer for these two compounds to break apart.[2]

Toxic Sewage Sludge Given Away as "Organic Biosolids Compost"

In 2009 a major controversy erupted in San Francisco when the Center for Food Safety and the Organic Consumers Association called on the SFPUC to end its give-away of toxic sewage sludge as free "organic biosolids compost" to gardeners. A March 4, 2010, demonstration at City Hall by the OCA forced a temporary halt to the program. (See articles below)[3] [4][5][6] [7] The misleading labeled "organic compost," which the PUC has given away free to gardeners since 2007, is composed of toxic sewage sludge from San Francisco and eight other counties. Very little toxicity testing has been done, but what little has been done is alarming. Just the sludge from San Francisco alone has tested positive for 1,2-Dibromo-3-Chloropropane (a.k.a. DBCP), Isopropyltoluene (a.k.a. p-cymene or p-isopropyltoluene), Dioxins and Furans. [8]

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. Richard Merritt, CEINT Adds New International Nano-Safety Initiative, Duke Engineering News, July 29th, 2010.
  2. Organochlorine pesticides are called 'persistent' for a reason, Environmental Health News, April 22, 2010.
  3. Heather Knight, Nonprofit calls PUC's compost toxic sludge, San Francisco Chronicle, September 27, 2009.
  4. Barry Estabrook, Free Compost--Or Toxic Sludge?, The Atlantic, December 1, 2009
  5. Anna Werner, Concern Over SF Compost Made from Sewage Sludge, CBS Channel 5, March 3, 2010
  6. Leora Broydo Vestel, Food Groups Clash Over Compost Sludge, New York Times Green Inc. blog, April 9 2010.
  7. Chris Roberts, Farmers Call PUC's Shit, Will Dump it on City Hall Today, San Francisco Appeal, March 4, 2010.
  8. Jill Richardson, What San Francisco Found in Their Own Sludge, La Vida Locavore blog, April 8, 2010.

External resources

CEINT Adds New International Nano-Safety Initiative

External articles

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