Great Lakes Environmental Directory Great Lakes Great Lakes environment Great Lakes grants exotic species water pollution water export drilling environment Great Lakes pollution Superior Michigan Huron Erie Ontario ecology Great Lakes issues wetlands Great Lakes wetlands Great Lakes Great Lakes environment Great Lakes watershed water quality exotic species Great Lakes grants water pollution water export oil gas drilling environment environmental Great Lakes pollution Lake Superior Lake Michigan Lake Huron Lake Erie Lake Ontario Great Lakes ecology Great Lakes issues Great Lakes wetlands Great Lakes Resources Great Lakes activist Great Lakes environmental organizations Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat air pollution alien species threatened rare endangered species ecological Great Lakes information Success Stories Great Lakes Directory Home/News Great Lakes Calendar Great Lakes jobs/volunteering Search Great Lakes Organizations Take Action! Contact Us Resources/Links Great Lakes Issues Great Lakes News Article About Us Networking Services

Great Lakes Article:

We might soon be eating dangerous chemical filth
By Curt Anderson
Green Bay News-Chronicle

People all over the world create tons of garbage and sewage every day. As the population of the planet increases, the problem of what to do with this waste increases. I am sure you have heard the foolish statement that all of the people on the planet could be put into Florida. That means standing in one place, on one yard square in Florida. One still has to have a place to lie down, a place to work, a place or two to recreate, a place to make beer, and of course, a place to put our wastes.

Wisconsin has been dealing with this waste problem for years. If you consider the dredging of the Fox River, if it wasn't polluted with toxic chemicals like PCBs, the dredging spoils would be a rich additive to any cropland. The situation is further complicated by other pollution dumped into rivers by industry illegally and legally, and by legally I mean it has been made legal by constant prodding and piles of money from lobbyists for special interest polluters.

Over the last four years, our Department of Natural Resources held meetings of a Citizens Advisory Committee to develop a "PCB Soil Criteria," which would define the safe level of PCBs in sludge, which could then be safely spread on farmland. Unfortunately, the committee was dominated by large sludge generators in the paper industry, sewage treatment plants and shipping harbors.

Because 98 percent of human sewage sludge is spread on farm fields in Wisconsin, with little interference from our DNR, the Wisconsin Division of Health worked hard on wildlife and human health risk assessments to develop honest PCB soil criteria. The result was an extremely low PCB level, which would virtually eliminate PCB waste spreading, including sewage sludge.

The pro-landspreading group lobbied against the restrictive criteria because it would mean they would have to spend more money to protect human and animal health. Money before protection of human health. This gives you an idea of their moral values.

The new DNR proposal does an end-around the proposed rule by the Wisconsin Division of Health. Instead of adopting the lower limit, the DNR is creating a waste-spreading rule that merely continues current landspreading practices. According to the state Division of Health toxicologist, Dr. Mark Werner, the average Wisconsin resident who does not eat Great Lakes fish is already three times over the threshold for beginning health effects due to PCBs. Background contamination in our food supply is a serious concern as PCBs are residual, that is, the molecules are stored in our fat cells. We don't need more PCB exposure.

Perhaps the most serious aspect of landspreading wastes is that there are thousands of chemicals involved, not just PCBs. How do PCBs affect you when combined with toxic heavy metals, solvents, pharmaceuticals, paints, pesticides and cleaning chemicals? Do we really want to eat food grown in soil spread with contaminated river dredge spoils, paper mill sludge, and sewage sludge?

We must protect ourselves and our loved ones by telling our elected representatives to push for strict health protection standards, such as the PCB soil criteria, for our own health and the health of our children and grandchildren. If the spreading continues we will all be eating dangerous chemical filth.

This information is posted for nonprofit educational purposes, in accordance with U.S. Code Title 17, Chapter 1,Sec. 107 copyright laws.
For more information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for
purposes of your own that go beyond "fair use," you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Great Lakes environmental information

Return to Great Lakes Directory Home/ Site Map