Radioactive & Toxic
Chemicals Now Farm Fertilizer!
Associated Press
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 cattle.
``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 beneficial substances.
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 feed.
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 landfills.
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

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