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From : Len Martin To : "Jim Lamont UMWA International Safety Rep." CC : "Jack Shannon, Rush Township Supervisor" , "Rep. Camille (Bud) George" , "Rick Laird, Rush Township Supervisor" Subject : PENNSYLVANIA - DEP chief meets with parents who link son's death (DANNY PENNOCK)to sludge Date : Fri, 27 Jul 2001 15:13:45 -0400 http://216.32.180.250/cgi-bin/linkrd?_lang=EN&lah=cfc18a9dbf08ba616d6de2fee517df4d&lat=996473457&hm___action=http%3a%2f%2fwww%2ereadingeagle%2ecom%2fre%2fnews%2f842973%2easp "The documents provided by PADEP Hess states that the sludge was not tested for pathogens microorganisms that cause diseases and that the testing was not required." [PLEASE NOTE: This statement is false. In 1995, 40 CFR Part 503.32 was still in effect -- which required testing of the sludge for pathogens "at the time the sewage sludge is used or disposed." -- EPA did not repeal this requirement until August 1999.} Eagle/Times: Lisa Fernandez Russel L. Pennock and his wife, Antoinette M., display a picture of their son Daniel J. in their Heidelberg Township home Thursday. The Pennocks believe Daniel died of exposure to processed human waste used as fertilizer near their property. DEP chief meets with parents who link son's death to sludge A Berks couple discuss with a state environmental official a possible connection between the fatal lung disease that killed their 17-year-old and the use of processed human waste at an adjacent farm. By Jason Brudereck Eagle/Times The head of the state Department of Environmental Protection met with a Heidelberg Township couple to give them an update on the state's investigation into the death of their son, who some claim died of exposure to processed human waste. Daniel J. Pennock, 17, died April 1, 1995, of respiratory problems associated with viral pneumonia and staphylococcal pneumonia after he suddenly became sick in mid-March that year. His parents believe his illness was related to the waste called biosolids and sewage sludge that was spread near his home as fertilizer. A federal government scientist and environmental activists agree. Sludge is spread at more than 50 Berks County farms. David E. Hess, DEP secretary, met with Daniel's parents for nearly two hours Wednesday at their house just east of Womelsdorf. “He seemed a little perplexed by this himself,” said Russell L. Pennock, Daniel's father. “He was nice to us, but there's still things unanswered.” Hess could not be reached for comment, and a DEP spokeswoman would not comment on what was discussed at the meeting. “It's a private meeting between the department and the Pennocks, so out of respect for their privacy, we are not disclosing any further information in that regard,” Karen Sitler said. State documents that Hess gave to the Pennocks indicate that 598 wet tons of sludge were spread on a field near their house in March 1995, the month Daniel became ill. The documents state that the sludge was not tested for pathogens microorganisms that cause diseases and that the testing was not required. The documents also state that two farmers who worked together to spread sludge on the field near the Pennocks' house were required to keep daily operation records, but that they no longer have those records. “We are continuing to explore other avenues to obtain these records,” a letter from Hess states. The farmers' names are being withheld by the Eagle/Times. The investigation began after the Pennocks contacted a microbiologist known for his analyses of deaths that have been linked to sludge after learning about his work in a series of articles in a February edition of the Sunday Reading Eagle. The Pennocks gave Daniel's medical records more than 300 pages of Reading Hospital documents that chronicle Daniel's death to Dr. David L. Lewis, a research microbiologist for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's National Exposure Research Laboratory in Athens, Ga. Lewis reviewed the records and concluded that Daniel's death probably was related to sludge. Lewis put his findings in a letter to the Pennocks. A copy of the letter was forwarded to DEP investigators. Lewis speaks about sludge as a private scientist because EPA directors, who disagree with Lewis, have forbidden him from speaking about sludge as an agency employee. Dr. Richard T. Bell, a Reading Hospital pulmonary specialist who treated Daniel, has said he can't be certain if sludge was a factor in Daniel's death. The Pennocks have refused to give the medical records to DEP investigators. They said they are suspicious because of a DEP investigation into the 1994 death of a Clearfield County boy, who some say died of exposure to sludge. The 1999 investigation concluded that Anthony W. Behun died of a bee sting. After an angry reaction from environmental activists, DEP investigators admitted the information was incorrect. “We would gladly like a second opinion, not that we don't trust Dr. Lewis,” Russell Pennock said. “If they let me pick a person who is qualified to examine the records a neutral party who has nothing to do with the state I'll let that person look at them.” You can contact Jason Brudereck at 610-371-5044 or jbrudereck@readingeagle.com. te.