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E-M:/ toxic sludge is good for you



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Enviro-Mich message from davemec@sojourn.com (Dave Dempsey)
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The State of Washington is now "testing a cross-section of fertilizer
products to see if they threaten crops, live-stock or people," the
Associated Press reported this week.  The mayor of the Central Washington
town of Quincy led an investigation after local farmers expressed concern
about the potential link between application of "fertilizer" containing
sewage sludge and poor yields and sickly cattle, AP said.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported that in Moxee, Washington, dark
powder from two Oregon steel mills is poured from rail cars into silos at
Bay Zinc Co. under a federal hazardous waste storage permit.  Then it is
emptied from the silos for use as fertilizer.  "When it goes into our silo,
it's a hazardous waste," said Bay Zinc's President, Dick Camp.  "When it
comes out of the silo, it's no longer regulated.  The exact same material."
The paper said that some industrial wastes can help crops grow, but
beneficial materials like nitrogen and magnesium are accompanied by
dangerous levels of heavy metals such as cadmium and lead.

The Seattle paper noted that there is no federal law requiring that toxic
heavy metals, chemicals and radioactive materials in fertilizer be listed
as ingredients in foods grown on lands treated with the stuff.  MEC
proposed such a requirement when S.B. 140, a bill sanctioning the use of
sewage sludge as fertilizer, was considered by the State Legislature
earlier this year.  The proposal was immediately rejected by legislators.
The bill is now law.

Dave Dempsey
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette, Suite 2A
Lansing, MI  48912
(517) 487-9539
(517) 487-9541 (fax)



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