Cities Recycling Infectious Waste, Disease

Sewage Sludge Spreading Brain Disease

In 1972, the world realized that dumping millions of tons of sewage sludge into the oceans killed underwater ecosystems. Some nations stopped the dumping immediately. Others did not.

The U.S., for example, finally passed the Ocean Dumping Ban Act of 1988. It required dumping all municipal sewage sludge and industrial waste on land. That meant dumping it into landfills or dumping it openly on land, including farms, ranches, national forests, city parks, golf courses, playgrounds, sport fields and beyond. The Act went into effect in 1992 and it sparked a public health disaster. The practice is spreading pathogens to people, livestock, wildlife and beyond every day.

Dr. Stanley Prusiner, an American neuroscientist from the University of California at San Francisco, earned a Nobel Prize in 1997 for discovering and characterizing deadly prions and prion disease, also known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE). He claims that all TSEs are caused by prions. President Obama awarded Prusiner the National Medal of Science in 2010 to recognize the importance of his research.

transmissible spongiform encephalopathy

According to Prusiner, TSEs all are on the same disease spectrum, which is more accurately described as prion (PREE-on) disease Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is at the extreme end of the spectrum. Prusiner’s science is being ignored and we are facing a public health disaster because of the negligence.

Studies confirm that people and animals dying of prion disease contaminate the environment around them with prions because prions are in the urine, feces, blood, mucus and saliva of each victim. Not only are homes and hospitals exposed to the prion pathogen, so are entire sewage treatment systems and their by-products. Wastewater treatment plants are prion incubators and distributors. The sewage sludge and wastewater released are spreading disease far and wide.

Claudio Soto prion research

Claudio Soto, PhD, professor of neurology at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston, and his colleagues confirmed the presence of prions in urine. Soto also confirmed that plants uptake prions and are infectious and deadly to those who consume the infected plants. Therefore, humans, wildlife and livestock are vulnerable to prion disease via plants grown on land treated with sewage sludge and reclaimed sewage water.

Prion researcher Dr. Joel Pedersen, from the University of Wisconsin, found that prions become 680 times more infectious in certain soils. Pedersen also found that sewage treatment does not inactivate prions. Therefore, prions are lethal, mutating, migrating and multiplying everywhere sewage is dumped.

“Our results suggest that if prions enter municipal wastewater treatment systems, most of the agent would bond to sewage sludge, survive anaerobic digestion, and be present in treated biosolids,” Pedersen said.

prion research sewage sludge

“Land application of biosolids containing prions represents a route for their unintentional introduction into the environment. Our results emphasize the importance of keeping prions out of municipal wastewater treatment systems. Prions could end up in sewage treatment plants via slaughterhouses, hospitals, dental offices and mortuaries just to name a few of the pathways. The disposal of sludge represents the greatest risk of spreading prion contamination in the environment. Plus, we know that sewage sludge pathogens, pharmaceutical residue and chemical pollutants are taken up by plants and vegetables.”

biosolids and prion disease


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has confirmed that prions are in sewage and that there has been no way to detect them or stop them. As such, the EPA has never issued guidance on prion management within wastewater treatment plants. Unfortunately, the EPA’s risk assessment on sewage sludge and biosolids were prepared before the world of science knew about prions. The agency continues to cling to it’s antiquated sludge rule crafted back in the dark ages. It does, however, consider prions a “emerging contaminant of concern.” Meanwhile, its outdated risk assessments are promoting a public health disaster.

“Since it’s unlikely that the sewage treatment process can effectively deactivate prions, adopting measures to prevent the entry of prions into the sewer system is advisable,” said the Toronto Department of Health, November 2004.

Landfills designed to handle this toxic soup are extremely expensive. So, the dumpers conspired with the EPA and hired a public relations firm to convince unsuspecting citizens that neurotoxins are fertilizer. The PR firm called this toxic waste biosolids. It’s even sold in bags at your local home and garden store as soil for your garden and potting plants. It’s death dirt.

wastewater treatment and disease

Since then, millions of tons of sewage sludge have been given to farmers as fertilizer every year. Those farmers and ranchers who don’t believe that “fertilizer” bullshit are being paid to dump it on their land and shut up. The farmers are held harmless the reckless practice causes damage to people or property downwind, downstream or at the dinner table. With government assistance, land owners are literally making a killing.

Unfortunately, the practice of dumping extreme quantities of sewage sludge on land has created an even bigger public health problem. It’s now killing wildlife and it still kills sea mammals. Livestock are not immune to the threat.

mad cow disease

Prions are the protein-based infectious agents responsible for a group of diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE). The operative word is transmissible. TSEs are more commonly known as:

  • bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease) in cattle;
  • scrapie in sheep;
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in humans; and
  • chronic wasting disease (CWD) in deer, elk, and moose.

As stated earlier, infectious prions are in the bodily fluids of its victims, including blood, urine, mucus, saliva and feces. Thousands of victims flush tons of prion-infected waste to the municipal sewage treatment plant every day, where they mutate and incubate. Wastewater effluent and sewage sludge recycles prions into the environment. Once dumped on open land, they remain infectious. Irrigation, precipitation and wind carry the prions into groundwater, streams, lakes, oceans and airways, including homes, offices and beyond.

Reckless wastewater treatment policies and practices are now fueling a global epidemic of neurodegenerative disease among people, wildlife and livestock. The risk assessments are based on fraud and outdated information. The risk assessments for the land application of sewage sludge (LASS) were developed back in the 1970s and 1980s–before we knew about prions and other killers in modern sewage streams, including many forms of infectious medical waste.

The risk assessments are total failures now. Plus, these risk assessments do not account for the possibility of sewage sludge dumped on land going airborne. It’s much more than a possibility–airborne sewage is killing people and animals. Wind dumps the toxins everywhere.

air pollution and human health

Unfortunately, the U.S. exported these ridiculous ideas to other nations who proceeded to contaminate their food and water supplies with sewage. If hospitals can’t stop prions, neither can the brain surgeons at wastewater treatment plants.

The legislation banning ocean dumping was very explicit about the need to stop dumping potentially infectious medical waste into the oceans. Ironically, the current policy that promotes LASS ignores the risk of infectious medical waste and many other threats. It also ignores radionuclides, endocrine disruptors, birth control pills, antibiotics, flame-retardants and other toxins and superbugs. This toxic waste belongs in a lined landfill not our watersheds and food supplies. It’s time for immediate reforms.

The same sewage-borne toxins and pathogens are still contaminating our oceans. Now, they’re dumped in further upstream. Entire watersheds are now being infected—including the oceans. The body count among people, livestock and wildlife has been stacking up ever since ocean dumping began phasing out.

Biosolids and other forms of sewage mismanagement are now fueling a global epidemic of neurological disease, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, autism, mad cow disease, chronic wasting disease, microcephaly and more. Industry and governments are scrambling to blame the global epidemic on anything but contaminated soil, water, food and air. They are playing dumb in the face of fraud and scientific suppression. Negligence is too kind of a word for these sociopaths.

Alzheimer's disease and infectious waste

Sewage also contaminates our food with listeria, e-coli, salmonella and other killers. In fact, scientists are scrambling to come up with new names for the growing list of sewage-related ailments, including Zika virus, West Nile virus, epizoic hemorrhagic fever, equine herpes, valley fever and others. Industrial disease is a more accurate label.

Killer prions are impossible to stop. Prions are contributing to the death of millions of people now. Victims produce and spread prions daily because they’re in the bodily fluids of all victims. Millions of people with brain disease are contaminating their homes and communities, while exposing caregivers and family members to the contagion. The sewage from these victims is contaminating the local wastewater treatment plant and everything that enters or leaves these facilities, including reclaimed wastewater and sewage sludge. Once dumped on open land, these contagions remain infectious as they migrate, mutate and multiply forever.

sewage sludge treatment and disposal

Prions demand containment and isolation, not distribution and consumption through air, food and water. These toxins demand lined landfills not reckless dumping on our dinner tables. Prions migrate, mutate and multiply, so dilution is not a solution. Prions are a nightmare.

The world has never done an effective job of managing its sewage. It’s an industry that drives by looking in the rear view mirror. It only swerves when the road is buried in body bags. After enough people get sick and die, new alternatives emerge. Today is no different. The bodies are stacking up. The contamination grows stronger and spreads further every day. It’s time to stop dumping sewage sludge on land because of the prion risk and many others that are not accounted for in the antiquated and fraudulent risk assessments. It’s time for citizens to defend our land, water and air.

Today, the land application of sewage sludge is killing mammals and more around the world. Pathogens in sludge are causing brain disease, cancer and death. Let’s take a meaningful stand for food safety. Just say no to biosolids in our watersheds and food supplies. Demand the use of lined landfills or other proven containment strategies.

public affairs and public relations firm

Crossbow Communications specializes in issue management and public affairs. It’s also promoting sustainable, resilient and livable cities. Please contact Gary Chandler at to join our network for reform on sewage sludge and biosolids.

Green Homes Improve Health, Lower Cost of Living

Building Greener Homes

After our recent affordable green housing project post, several readers expressed an interest in learning more about the details. You might be surprised to learn that the elements of an affordable green home are really not all that mysterious. In fact, many of them are already becoming common practice because they just make sense. I would have to say, that the biggest advantage to any green home building project is that it gives everyone involved  an opportunity to evaluate new technologies and practices. This leads to the discovery of smarter construction methods, more efficient and affordable homes and reduces the impact on the environment.

Greener Cities network

The planning process is the single most important element of an affordable green home project. Creating detailed builder specifications makes the process much easier. Because of the advances in home construction and system technologies, it is constantly becoming easier to implement green elements. Thorough research in the planning stage gives the home builder valuable information that makes the implementation much easier.

According to Monte Stock, the architect of the project in Kahoka, Missouri, “How astonishing it was that project was able to meet the requirements of building to National Green Building Standard without being complex or a big hurdle.”

Monte and I agree that the upfront work that went into the plans and specifications helped to attract a builder that could really do the job well and establish a great working relationship. There were three general areas that were the focus of this recent project. Sustainable Planning, Green Design and Building Techniques and Owner/Tenant Education and Documentation.  Below you will find some examples of the elements of each of these general areas. The planning process focused on 3 goals:

  • Incorporate sustainable or “green” and energy efficient design, building and materials
  • Reduce operating, utility and maintenance costs
  • Designed and built to meet the Bronze level of the National Green Building Standard™ under the “Green Building” path.

Green Design and Building Techniques

Optimizing Site Orientation and Placement of Building Components

  • Extended roof overhangs to protect from sun and moisture
  • Infill lots used
  • Landscaping – Drought resistant trees and plantings

Resource Efficiency

  • House size under 1500 square feet
  • Roof trusses used
  • Building components that require no additional site finishes – windows, siding, gutters, porch railings and columns
  • Covered front and rear entries (ample porches provide shade and water protection)
  • Water resistant exterior barrier – “house wrap”

Energy Efficiency

  • Building Envelope Well Sealed and Insulated
  • Efficient Heating, Ventilation and Cooling Systems
  • Appliances, lighting fixtures, and ceiling fans that have received Energy Star™ certification.

Water Efficiency

  • Plumbing fixtures and toilets are WaterSense™ certified or provide low-flow/low water usage.
  • No irrigation system needed for outdoor landscaping

Indoor Air Quality

  • Controlling the entry of pollutants, especially VOCs with choices of low VOC paints, adhesives and flooring choices
  • Ventilating with exhausts in kitchen and baths to move pollutants and moisture out of the home.
  • Managing moisture in the build and operation of the home.
  • No garage. Reducing exposure to harmful exhaust.


History Lessons Under The Trees

Trees Help Keep History Alive

A unique tree-planting program would like to put a piece of history in your yard. The Famous & Historic Tree Program is an environmental education concept combining contemporary conservation with our nation’s heritage.

famous and historic trees
This poplar tree was planted by George Washington in 1785.

Young trees that are direct descendants of trees planted by – or associated with – George Washington, Betsy Ross, Martin Luther King, and 130 other famous people and places are available for planting, said Neil Sampson, vice president of American Forests, the nonprofit group sponsoring the program.

“We’ve identified trees all across America and around the world that are associated with significant people or events in history,” he said. “From the seeds of those one-of-a-kind trees, we grow small healthy trees and make them available for sale.”

Included in the group’s catalog are descendants of trees that witnessed the landing of Columbus, the American Revolution and the bloody battles of the Civil War. Others were nurtured by presidents, inventors, artists, heroes and other accomplished Americans.

George Washington, for instance, planted numerous trees at his home in Mount Vernon, Va. The program’s George Washington tulip poplar dates back to 1785 and is the largest of the living trees planted by the first president, said Sampson.

famous and historic trees

Other famous trees come from the lives of Abraham Lincoln, U.S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, John James Audubon, Edgar Allen Poe, Hellen Keller, Jesse Owens, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford.

One of the most popular selections involves trees from Walden Woods in Concord, Mass. Since this is where Henry David Thoreau lived and wrote from 1845 to 1847, it has been a sacred tract of land to many. Singer Don Henley and other celebrities have helped with the group’s Walden Woods Tree Project, aimed at stopping development on the land.

“One-third of the purchase price of each Famous & Historic Tree benefits the tree-planting and preservation efforts of American Forests,” Sampson said. “To date, more than 10,000 trees have been sold to more than 2,000 individuals, corporations and community organizations.”

Each of the one- to three-foot seedlings comes from the group’s nursery in Jacksonville, Fla. The trees sell for $35 and are guaranteed to grow. The tree also comes with a certificate of authenticity, fertilizer, planting instructions, a protective net and a stake for added support, Sampson said.

The Benefits Of Trees To Cities, Citizens

Forest restoration is a global issue, but planting a tree is a very local action. Through our Global ReLeaf program, American Forests works with communities of all sizes to get the right trees planted where they are needed. We have worked with Roanoke, Virgina; Houston, Texas; Washington, DC; and many other cities to increase their tree canopies. We have also been involved with smaller projects, like planting 331 trees at the Boston Nature Center to help mitigate the impact of rapid development nearby. View the rest of our urban projects here.The city of Baltimore, for example, estimates that its 2.8 million trees store 527 tons of carbon and remove 244 metric tons of ground-level ozone annually. It also estimates that its trees reduce energy costs citywide by $3.3 million a year.

Urban trees are a vital part of a functioning ecosystem. City trees can significantly reduce stormwater runoff, which pollutes local streams. Trees also absorb dangerous chemicals and other pollutants in the soil and can either store the pollutants or make them less harmful. Portland, Oregon, for example, is trying to increase its tree canopy from 26 percent to 33 percent by planting 83,000 trees to help manage stormwater. Other major cities — including Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Phoenix — are also increasing their tree canopies.

Trees improve air quality by taking in carbon dioxide and other air pollution and releasing oxygen. They also intercept airborne particles and muffle urban noise. Their shade and evaporation create microclimates cooler than the surrounding sunny areas, cutting down on pollution and reducing the urban heat island effect.

Trees can also increase a home’s value and reduce energy use. Deciduous trees on the east, west and south sides of a house can significantly reduce summer cooling costs. Besides shading the structure itself, trees can shade a heat pump compressor to make it work more efficiently. In winter, evergreens that block the wind on the north side of a house can reduce heating costs.

Founded in 1875, the American Forests organization itself is part of America’s history. It is the country’s oldest nonprofit citizens conservation organization, he said. For more information about the program, call 1-800-320-TREE. Or visit

Earth Fact: Millions of tree-planting spaces are available around homes and businesses in towns and cities around the world. Planting those trees could save billions each year in energy costs. Those energy savings would reduce carbon dioxide emissions from energy production by millions of tons per year.