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SLUDGE VICTIMS

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

THE REPORT "POTENTIAL HEALTH EFFECTS OF ODOR FROM ANIMAL OPERATIONS, WASTEWATER TREATMENT AND RECYCLING OF BYPRODUCTS", Dr. Susan Schiffman, Duke University and Dr. John Walker, USEPA, lead authors, published in the November 2000 issue of the Journal of Agromedicine supports Dr. David Lewis' research and helps to explain why neighbors of sludge sites (as well as sludge workers) are getting sick.

"Complaints of health symptoms from ambient odors have become more frequent in communities with confined animal facilities, WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANTS, AND BIOSOLIDS RECYCLING OPERATIONS."

"The most frequently reported health complaints include eye, nose, and throat irritation, headache, nausea, diarrhea, hoarseness, sore throat, cough, chest tightness, nasal congestion, palpitations, shortness of breath, stress, drowsiness, and alterations in mood."

"Odors are sensations that occur when a complex mixture of compounds (called odorants) stimulate receptors in the nasal cavity. Most odorants associated with animals manures AND BIOSOLIDS are volatile organic compounds (VOC's) that are generated by bacterial degradation of protein, fat, and carbohydrates in the organic matter. Reactive inorganic gases such as AMMONIA and hydrogen sulfide are also important odorants that can be emitted from animal manures AND BIOSOLIDS. " (pg. 8)

"In the first paradigm, the symptoms are induced by exposure to odorants at levels that also cause irritation (or other toxicological effects). That is, irritation -- rather than the odor --is the cause of the symptoms, and odor simply serves as an exposure marker."


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