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


WHY does sewage sludge make people sick?
NEIGHBORS of sludge sites are frequently subjected to a noxious miasma of toxic gases, airborne particulates, allergens and pathogens including viruses, bacteria, endotoxins, molds, and fungi.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) acknowledges sewage sludge emits toxic gases including Dimethyl Sulfide, Dimethyl Disuffide, Methyl Mercaptan, Trimethylamine and Ammonia.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) all warn that these chemicals can pose significant risk to human health through "ingestion, inhalation or skin absorption." Target organs: Eyes, skin and respiratory system.

Symptoms from exposure to these gases can include irritation of the skin, eyes, nos and throat, headache, nausea, vomiting, wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, respiratory distress, bronchospasm, and in worst cases, laryngospasm, laryngeal edema, pulmonary and chemical pneumonitis.

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