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SLUDGE VICTIMS

May 2001 update - compiled by Helane Shields - prepared for WWW by ESRA

Ever optimistic, I filed another FOIA request on January 28, 1999, asking for copies of these "reports' claiming impact on human health and the environment from sludge spreading, which were referred to by Dr. Rubin in his November 1998 testimony to the NHE & A Committee.

Again, the EPA gave me nothing.

By letter dated February 2, 1999, Dr. Rubin referred to my prior FOIA requests and stated:

"I do not have any further information on alleged incidences in my file. However, US EPA is gathering information on reported incidences of potential impacts from biosolids use/disposal projects. This activity is being coordinated and managed by Robert Brobst, USEPA's Biosolids Coordinator Region 8. 1 suggest that you contact Mr. Brobst and request either directly or through a FOIA- mechanism the type of information that you are seeking in this FOIA request.'

On November 25, 2000, 1 filed two more FOIA requests - one with Mr. Brobst, Region 8, Denver, and one with EPA headquarters regarding EPA's testimony to House Science Committee in March 2000 about allegations of damage to public health and the environment from sludge.

By letter dated January 23, 2001, Mr. Brobst stated: "Al Rubin of EPA headquarters was mistaken in stating that l was reponsible for tracking all biosolids incidents. I am not." Thus, Dr. Rubin was not telling the truth when he told me Mr. Brobst was coordinating the sludge victims' information.

So we appear to have a shell game going. Just where are the EPA's sludge victims files?

I have been told by numerous sludge victims from around the country that they contacted the local EPA office asking for help. Every one of them say the EPA ignored them. And none of the EPA Regional Office ever complied with my FOIA requests by acknowledging contacts by those sludge victims.

In March 2000, the EPA told the House Science Committee it didn't have money or the inclination to enforce sludge issues. "Biosolids is not a national compliance and enforcement priority."

But the EPA has given millions of our tax dollars to the WEF (Water Environment Federation -- whose members are the sludge producers and sludge spreaders) .... to promote landspreading of sludge and to debunk and discredit sludge victims and those who claim present policies do not protect human health or the environment. This booklet just skims the surface. The truth about the harm being done to human health and the environment from the landspreading of sewage sludge lies in the files EPA has been concealing from the press, public and Congress for years.

Over the past several years the EPA has repeatedly stated there are "no documented cases" of sickness from sludge exposure. As long as the EPA continues to protect themselves and the waste industry by withholding all records of sludge complaints, there will never be any "documented cases".

Helane Shields, Alton, NH


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