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E-M:/ Another source of waste imports...

Enviro-Mich message from Mary Beth Doyle <marybeth@ecocenter.org>

Waste is not only coming into to Michigan across the Ambassador Bridge--
industrial wastes are legally added to many fertilizers as well.  (This
seems especially unfair, since digging in my garden is what I like to do to
relax after work!)  Please take a moment to submit your comments to the

the Word!!!

California Public Interest Research Group
National Environmental Law Center
Safe Food and Fertilizer
Sierra Club
Washington Toxics Coalition

Dear Friend:

We are writing to alert you to an incredible scam that is almost too
impossible to believe: fertilizers that we're using on our lawns, in
our gardens, and on our agricultural fields are often manufactured
with toxic waste that contains lead, mercury, dioxin and other
harmful chemicals.

In fact, in some cases the very wastes that industries capture in
pollution control devices so that they do not contaminate our air and
water are being turned into fertilizer and spread on land.

Amazingly, this practice has gone virtually unregulated across the
nation. Studies show that some common fertilizers that can be bought
at the local Kmart or Home Depot can turn lawns and gardens into
toxic waste sites. This puts our health, drinking water, crops and
garden plants at risk.

Farmers and consumers have been the guinea pigs in this toxic waste
to fertilizer experiment. Just think, millions of pounds of lead from
steel mill hazardous waste has been spread on farmland in the form of
zinc fertilizer without comprehensive studies or evidence to prove
its safety or effectiveness as a fertilizer. It is completely

The good news is that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is
finally considering regulating this dangerous practice.  The bad news
is that the regulations that EPA has proposed are too weak-they would
still allow fertilizer products to contain hazardous waste at levels
that are unacceptable! This puts the nation's food supply at risk and
the nation's farms, lawns and gardens will continue to be dumping
grounds for toxic waste.

EPA's rulemaking is a huge opportunity for all of us to press for
strong and swift action to get toxic waste out of our fertilizer.  We
need action from throughout the country to alert EPA to the
importance of this issue.

How can you help out?
÷ Send a comment letter using the enclosed sample letter.
÷ Send our e-mail alert to your organization's activist networks.
÷ Send an email to EPA today through CalPIRG's web form at http://www.pirg.org
÷ Try to get an op-ed (Laurie can send you) to run in your local
paper. It has already run in the Seattle Times and we can get it to
your local paper very easily.
÷ Tell us of other groups who may be interested in this issue.

We have until February 26th to encourage EPA to adopt stronger, more
sensible standards. Please take action by February 26th!

If you need additional information visit www.pirg.org or
www.watoxics.org or  contact Laurie Valeriano at 206-632-1545x14,

Thank you,

Matthew Shaffer		Laurie Valeriano			Doris Cellarius
CalPIRG		Washington Toxics Coalition	Sierra Club
Toxics Policy Advocate	Policy Director

Jon Stier				Patricia Martin
National Environmental		Safe Food and Fertilizer
Law Center


Sample Comment Letter

RCRA Docket Information Center
Office of Solid Waste (5305W)
Environmental Protection Agency Headquarters (EPA, HQ)
401 M Street, SW
Washington, D.C. 20460

Docket Number: F-2000-RZFP-FFFFF

To Whom It May Concern:

Turning toxic waste into fertilizer is a shocking practice that poses
a serious hazard to our health, our food supply, and the environment.
It is time for the EPA to take strong measures to stop this sham.  I
commend you for proposing some important initial steps to address the
problem, and urge you to go further to protect the health of the
American public.

I urge you to strengthen the rule to:

÷ Move towards a ban of the use of hazardous wastes for manufacturing
fertilizers by adopting the proposed stringent metals standards for
all zinc fertilizers on an interim basis until a ban is in place;
÷ Remove loopholes that allow hazardous steel mill waste to be turned
into zinc fertilizer, and ban its use in fertilizer manufacture
÷ Ban all dioxin-laden wastes from fertilizer;
÷ Remove the exemption for mining wastes when used to manufacture
micro-nutrient or any fertilizer product;
÷ Retain existing hazardous waste management requirements for
hazardous wastes being made into fertilizer; and
÷ Adopt labeling requirements and a comprehensive reporting system so
the public knows what hazardous wastes are being made into
fertilizer, what toxics are contained in their fertilizer and at what

The risks of toxic waste are too great for too many, in any form, at
any level. Do not let our farms, lawns and gardens continue to be
dumping grounds for toxic waste.



Mary Beth Doyle, MPH
Environmental Health Project
Ecology Center
117 N. Division
Ann Arbor MI 48104

734-663-2400 ext 108
734-663-2414 (fax)

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