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  • "Our mission is to provide the highest quality scientific information and analysis to enable a healthy food system and a healthy world"

Project News and Views

New Resource Page: Sewage Sludge (Biosolids) — land application, health risks, and regulatory failure

Sewage sludge (also known as ‘biosolids’) refers to the semi-solids left over from municipal waste water treatment. It contains highly variable mixtures of household and industrial pollutants. These include radioactive material, pharmaceuticals, organic chemicals, antibiotics, and heavy metals, excess nutrients (e.g. N and P), and human pathogens. Its safe disposal has been problematic for municipalities and EPA since the inception of modern large-scale water treatment facilities (1).

Despite its documented harmful impacts, the U.S. EPA and others vigorously promote land application of sewage sludge — to farmers and ranchers as a fertilizer and to households as organic compost.

Many scientific experts argue that the risks of land application are not adequately addressed by EPA’s current 503 sludge rule. They believe the short and long term health of the public as well as the environment are at risk. The Bioscience Resource Project has just added Sewage Sludge (Biosolids) — land application, health risks, and regulatory failure to its resource pages. This page summarizes and links to key scientific papers that provide an overview of the current health, environmental, and political issues around land application of sludges. Included are suggestions for reformulating the problem to ensure clean water without toxic sludge production.

To access the new page see: Sewage Sludge (Biosolids) — land application, health risks, and regulatory failure.

(1) For an illuminating non-technical introduction to the origins of sewerage systems and the creation and disposal of toxic sludge see: Civilization & Sludge: Notes on the History of the Management of Human Excreta by Abby A. Rockefeller.

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New on ISN: How EPA Faked the Entire Science of Sewage Sludge Safety: A Whistleblower’s Story

Published today in Independent Science News: “How EPA Faked the Entire Science of Sewage Sludge Safety: A Whistleblower’s Story” by Dr David Lewis. This article is based on a chapter in Dr. Lewis’ new book: Science for Sale.

The US EPA’s 503 sludge rule (1993) currently allows application of treated sewage sludges (aka biosolids) to farms, forests, parks, schools, playgrounds, homes, and gardens. Biosolids are the insoluble wastes that settle out at water treatment plants. They contain complex mixtures of industrial chemicals, heavy metals, mercury, phthalates, flame retardants, hormones, pharmaceuticals, and pathogenic agents. While working at the EPA, senior scientist David Lewis published evidence showing a New Hampshire teenager Shayne Conner died, and other neighbors were harmed, from Read More »

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New on ISN: Genetic Testing of Citizens Is a Backdoor into Total Population Surveillance by Governments and Companies

Independent Science News has just published: “Genetic Testing of Citizens Is a Backdoor into Total Population Surveillance by Governments and Companies” by Helen Wallace, PhD, Executive Director of GeneWatch UK.

Why is Britain’s Health Service (the NHS), which is legendarily short of money, nevertheless willing to spend hundreds of millions of pounds to collect and store DNA, and build electronic health databases? The official answer Read More »

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More Than 250 Health Professionals and Researchers Say: Fracking Is Not Safe

Yesterday, a broad-based coalition of more than 250 medical organizations, health experts and researchers – mostly from New York State but some luminaries and fracking researchers from elsewhere as well – sent a letter to New York’s Governor Cuomo and new acting Department of Health commissioner, Dr. Zucker.

The letter lays out recent science and trends in the data on fracking and calls for a 3-5 year concrete moratorium. Read More »

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New on ISN: EU Safety Institutions Caught Plotting an Industry “escape route” Around Looming Pesticide Ban

Independent Science News has just published “EU Safety Institutions Caught Plotting an Industry “escape route” Around Looming Pesticide Ban” by Jonathan Latham, PhD, Executive Director of the Bioscience Resource Project.

Synopsis: Documents obtained by the nonprofit Pesticide Action Network (PAN) of Europe reveal that the health commission of the European Union (DG SANCO), which is responsible for protecting public health, is attempting to develop a procedural “escape route” to help companies evade an upcoming EU-wide ban on endocrine disrupting pesticides. This ban arose from strong scientific concerns Read More »

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New on ISN: What Will The World Inherit From GE Salmon?

Independent Science News has just published “What Will The World Inherit From GE Salmon?” by Dr. Gerry Goeden.

Article Synopsis: Ten percent of Norwegian salmon rivers no longer have any wild salmon populations, and Norwegian wild salmon as a whole have declined by 80% since the 1970s. This disappearance of wild salmon is not limited to Norway, it is a global phenomenon. The explanation is not the standard one of overfishing. Instead, it is primarily Read More »

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New BSR Resource Page: Human Genetic Predispositions – the hidden politics of genomic science

Most modern medical research assumes that inherited genetic predispositions underlie the current epidemics of (non-infectious) diseases and disorders. A partial list includes type II diabetes, heart disease, cancer, autism, various mental illnesses, myopia, and stroke. Historically, this genetic determinist paradigm in medicine was driven by tobacco industry funding. The industry calculated Read More »

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New on ISN: How “Extreme Levels” of Roundup in Food Became the Industry Norm

Published on Tuesday March 25th on Independent Science News: “How “Extreme Levels” of Roundup in Food Became the Industry Norm” by Thomas Bøhn and Marek Cuhra.

Article Synopsis: Many GMO crops are resistant to Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup (active ingredient: glyphosate). This resistance allows farmers to spray the herbicide over the crop to control weeds. As weeds in the US and elsewhere have increasingly gained resistance to Roundup, farmers have been spraying more herbicide more often. Yet Read More »

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ISN publishes Edward Snowden’s Testimony to the European Parliament on NSA Spying and its Consequences

Independent Science News has decided to reprint in full the March 7th testimony of Edward Snowden to the European Parliament. Snowden’s testimony is vitally important Read More »

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ISN Server Has Been Experiencing Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) Attacks

The Independent Science News (ISN) website has been offline periodically over the past few days. Here is a message from our internet service provider: “The server ISN resides on Read More »

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    The Bioscience Resource Project provides scientific and intellectual resources for a healthy future. It publishes Independent Science News, a media service devoted to food and agriculture, and their impacts on health and the environment. It also offers resources for scientists and educators and internships and training for students. Through its innovative scientific journalism and original biosafety review articles, the project provides unique and revealing perspectives on issues that are fundamental to the survival of people and the planet. The project does not accept advertising or corporate funding and is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. It is completely dependent on individual donations.

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