- SEATTLE (AP) - Toxic heavy metals, chemicals
and radioactive wastes are being recycled as fertilizer and spread over
farmers' fields nationwide - and there is no federal law requiring that
they be listed as ingredients, The Seattle Times reported.
- The issue came to light in the central
Washington town of Quincy, population 4,000, when Mayor Patty Martin led
an investigation by local farmers concerned about poor yields and sickly
- ``It's really unbelievable what's happening,
but it's true,'' Martin told the newspaper, which published a series about
the practice on Thursday and Friday.
- Until now, the state Department of Agriculture
sampled fertilizers only to see if they contained advertised levels of
- But the state is currently testing a
cross-section of fertilizer products to see if they threaten crops, livestock
or people, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported Friday.
- ``The key question is what toxics are,
as it were, along for the ride in fertilizers,'' said Tom Fitzsimmons,
director of the state Department of Ecology.
- Use of industrial waste as a fertilizer
ingredient is a growing national phenomenon, The Times reported.
- In Gore, Okla., a uranium-processing
plant gets rid of low-level radioactive waste by licensing it as a liquid
fertilizer and spraying it over 9,000 acres of grazing land.
- At Camas, Wash., lead-laced waste from
a pulp mill is hauled to farms and spread over crops destined for livestock
- In Moxee City, Wash., 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. The newspaper called the powder a
toxic byproduct of steel-making but did not identify it.
- ``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.''
- Federal and state governments encourage
the recycling, which saves money for industry and conserves space in hazardous-waste
- The substances found in recycled fertilizers
include cadmium, lead, arsenic, radioactive materials and dioxins, the
Times reported. The wastes come from incineration of medical and municipal
wastes, and from heavy industries including mining, smelting, cement kilns
and wood products.
- Mixed and handled correctly, some industrial
wastes can help crops grow, but beneficial materials such as nitrogen and
magnesium often are accompanied by dangerous heavy metals such as cadmium
and lead, the Times said.
- ``Nowhere in the country has a law that
says if certain levels of heavy metals are exceeded, it can't be a fertilizer,''
said Ali Kashani, who directs fertilizer regulation in Washington state.
- Unlike many other industrialized nations,
the United States does not regulate fertilizers. That makes it virtually
impossible to figure out how much fertilizer contains recycled hazardous
wastes. And laws in most states, including Washington, are far from stringent.
- Canada's limit for heavy metals such
as lead and cadmium in fertilizer is 10 to 90 times lower than the U.S.
limit for metals in sewage sludge, while the United States has no limit
for metals in fertilizer, the newspaper said.
- ``This is a definite problem,'' said
Richard Loeppert, a soil scientist at Texas A&M University and author
of several published papers on toxic elements in fertilizers. ``The public
needs to know.''
- AP-NY-07-06-97 1815EDT
- There are three classifications of BW,
Viruses, bacteria, Rickettsia, biological toxins. The most deadly being
the altered or mutant stains of the three.
- The United States has been doing Biological
testing since l942. In l956 the Soviet Union accused the U.S. of using
biological weapons in Korea, which lead them to threaten future use of
Chemical and Biological weapons. Of course after this the U.S. had to take
a more defensive role. Previous, most of the reseach was based at Ft. Detrick
and used "surrogate biological agents" to model more deadly organisms.
Most of the offensive tests were based on "secret praying" of
organisms over populated areas. This program was shut down in l969 (perhaps)
One of the biggest experiments involved the use of Serratia marcescens
being sprayed over San Fransico. This orgaism is especially nice because
it produes a red/pink pigment when grown on certain media, which makes
identification very easy. At one point, 5000 particles/minuite were sprayed
from the coastal areas inward. During this time, 1 man died in the hospital,
and 10 others became infected in what was described a mystery to doctors.
Although the military never did many follow up studies on these tests,
one results was that it showed nearly every single person became infected
with the test organism. In hindsight, now that some of this information
has become declassified, it's been shown that during periods following
spraying tests, there were 5-10 times the normal infections reported. Another
test was done on Minneapolis that were disguised as "smoke screen
tests" because residents were told a harmless smoke was being tested
so cities might be "hidden" from radar guided missiles. In l966
Bacillus subtilis was released into ther subway system of NYC to determine
how vulnerable it was to attack. Results showed theentire underground tunnel
system could be infected by release in only one station due to the winds
created by the trains. The bulk of the BW experiments conducted by the
U.S. during this time all pointed to two things; the U.S. was highly susceptible
to a biological weapon attack and there was really nothing we could do
about it. References: Scott D. McCulloch- Biological Warfare and the implications
of Biotechnology Cole, Leonard A. Clouds of secrecy: the army's germ warfare
tests over populated area's Hersh, Seymour M. Chmical and Biological Warfare:
America's hidden arsenal, Murphy, Sean. No fire, no thunder: the threat
of chemical and biological weapons, Piller, Chares, Gene wars; military
control over the new genetic technoligies, Spiers, Edward M. Chemical and
Biological Weapons; A study in proliferation