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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Sewage Sludge' Category


17
Apr

“Forever Chemical” PFAS Drinking Water Rules Issued, Urgency to Shift from Petrochemicals Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, April 17, 2024) With headlines drawing public attention to the contamination of drinking water after years of federal government neglect, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on April 10 new standards to reduce public exposure to PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly referred to as “forever chemicals” because of their persistence. EPA has finalized a National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR) for six PFAS, including PFOA and PFOS, which EPA has recognized have no safe level of exposure, regulating new chemicals for the first time since the 1996 amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). PFAS persistence and bioaccumulation in humans, wildlife, and the environment is due to the strength of a resulting fluorine–carbon atom bond. PFAS contamination of drinking water, surface and groundwater, waterways, soils, and the food supply—among other resources—is ubiquitous worldwide. PFAS is used in everyday products, including cookware, clothes, carpets, as an anti-sticking and anti-stain agent, in plastics, machinery, and as a pesticide. The action was welcomed by environmentalists and public health advocates as an important step but left many concerned that any level of exposure to these chemicals is unacceptable and critical of EPA’s ongoing failure to act despite years […]

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28
Mar

Maine Fund to Compensate Farmers for PFAS Contaminated Land Underscores Need for Action

(Beyond Pesticides, March 28, 2024) Last week, Maine Central reported the first application was filed for Maine’s first-in-the nation PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) Fund. This $70 million federal-state Fund to Address PFAS Contamination (PFAS Fund) provides compensation for commercial farmers whose health, business, and land have been impacted by PFAS contamination. A critical component of this fund enables the state to purchase contaminated farmland at fair market, pre-contamination value, which in the state of Maine hovers at approximately $3,729 per acre when including estimated market value of land and buildings, according to newly released data in the 2022 Census of Agriculture. “Maine became the first state to ban sludge recycling and approve a 2030 ban on PFAS in nonessential products,” according to reporting by Maine Central. The state of Maine has exhibited extraordinary leadership in prioritizing public health, ecosystems, and the environment, setting an example for addressing a widespread contamination problem at the local, state, and national level. However, advocates in Maine are raising warnings after the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, according to reporting by Portland Press Herald, proposed “a compromise plan to regulate the sale of products containing forever chemicals [which] would exempt some federally regulated industries […]

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20
Feb

Take Action: Advocates Ask Congress to Include Protections from PFAS Contamination in Farm Bill

(Beyond Pesticides, February 20, 2024) With health risks including developmental, metabolic, cardiovascular, and reproductive harm, cancer, damage to the liver, kidneys, and respiratory system, as well as the potential to increase the chance of disease infection and severity, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and their toxic trail of contamination in the environment is wreaking havoc with all life. The use of PFAS in industrial and commercial applications has led to widespread contamination of water and biosolids used for fertilizer, poisoning tens of millions of acres of land and posing a significant threat to the biosphere, public health, gardens, parks, and agricultural systems. Farmers and rural communities, in particular, bear the brunt of this contamination, as it affects their drinking water, soil quality, and livestock health.   Tell Congress that the Farm Bill must include the Relief for Farmers Hit with PFAS Act and the Healthy H2O Act to protect farmers and rural communities from PFAS contamination.  Led by Chellie Pingree (D-ME), U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Susan Collins (R-ME), a bipartisan and bicameral bill—the Relief for Farmers Hit with PFAS Act—has been introduced to provide assistance and relief to those affected by PFAS. A second bill, the Healthy H2O Act, introduced by Representatives Pingree and David Rouzer (R-NC) and Senators Baldwin […]

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28
Aug

Labeling Can Help Buyers Avoid Hazards of Petrochemical Fertilizers—Public Comment by Sep 11

(Beyond Pesticides, August 28, 2023) As the need to eliminate petrochemical fertilizers looms large in the context of existing existential crises relating to health threats, biodiversity collapse, and the climate emergency, the leadership of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is under increasing public scrutiny. One program that is being closely watched is the agency’s Safer Choice product labeling program which could, according to advocates, be strategic in differentiating in the marketplace those products that are not contributing to the climate crisis, biodiversity collapse, and dramatic health effects. Beyond Pesticides is advocating, in response to a request for public comment from EPA (due September 11, 2023), that EPA (under its Safer Choice program) evaluate fertilizers for compatibility with natural systems, protection of soil organisms, waterways, human health, and helping to mitigate the climate and biodiversity crises. With the Safer Choice label, consumers—from farmers, landscapers, to gardeners—could determine at the point of sale which fertilizer products are not contributing to the floods, fires, and loss of life associated with the climate crisis. Beyond Pesticides previously initiated an action urging that EPA’s Safer Choice program be more holistic and in sync with natural systems, not just a product substitution program. This week, Beyond […]

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24
Jul

Biosolids/Sewage Sludge Widely Used without Complete Safety Assessment

(Beyond Pesticides, July 24, 2023) Sewage sludge, also known as biosolids, is a byproduct of sewage treatment and is used as a source of organic matter for amending soil in nonorganic agriculture and landscaping. EPA has published a list of 726 chemicals found in biosolids in the National Sewage Sludge Surveys. This list does not include the per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which are emerging contaminants of biosolids. Tell your Governor and local officials to ban the use of biosolids in farms and parks, until there is adequate testing of toxic residues—which does not currently exist. In addition to PFAS (also referred to as “forever chemicals”), persistent toxic pollutants found in biosolids include: inorganic chemicals such as metals and trace elements; organic chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs, dioxins, pharmaceuticals, and surfactants; and pathogens including bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Regulation of biosolids by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been found by the EPA Office of Inspector General (OIG), in its report EPA Unable to Assess the Impact of Hundreds of Unregulated Pollutants in Land-Applied Biosolids on Human Health and the Environment, to be inadequate. Lacking sufficient oversight at the federal level, action to protect health and the environment falls […]

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08
Jun

Sewage Sludge Fertilizers Sold at Hardware Stores Found to be Contaminated with PFAS Chemicals

(Beyond Pesticides, June 8, 2021) Biosolid-based fertilizer products like Milorganite, often sold to consumers as “organic,” are contaminated with dangerous PFAS chemicals, according to a study published by Sierra Club and Ecology Center. Biosolids, also known as sewage sludge, have been found in the past to contain residues of hazardous pesticides, heavy metals, antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals, personal care products, and a range of other toxicants. While the latest news may not be surprising for careful shoppers who have long avoided biosolid fertilizers, none of these risks are relayed to consumers on fertilizer packages. With fertilizer regulations failing the American consumer, it becomes more important than ever to seek out certified organic fertilizer products. Sierra Club and Ecology Center looked at nine fertilizer products, each produced from the sewage sludge of a particular American city. For instance, Milorganite, perhaps the most well-known biosolid sludge fertilizer, is derived from the Milwaukee, Wisconsin sewage treatment system. Other products were derived from locations including Sacramento, CA (Synagro); Tacoma, WA (TAGRO); Madison, GA (Pro Care); Las Vegas, NV (Ecoscraps); Eau Claire, WI (Menards Premium Natural Fertilizer); Jacksonville, FL (Greenedge); North Andover, MA (Earthlife); and Washington, DC (Cured Bloom). As the report notes, many of […]

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