Today I am sharing an important story of toxic waste spreading through our water from factory farming from The Journal of Food and Natural Healing, a site managed by my good friend, David (Augie) Augenstein.
David Michael has posted this expose on the appalling situation at Ohio’s largest inland lake, Grand Lake-St. Mary’s. David Michael has spent over 30 years in the environmental control field (air, water, waste, land) I would like to stress that Ohio farmers are good people and sacrifice much to produce food for everyone. I do not believe this is all their fault at all—but much of the blame should be placed on EPA and USDA—and the big food and agriculture corporations all working together.– Augie
Ohio’s Love Canal: Toxic Pollution Dumping on a Scale of BP-Gulf Spill
By David Michael
Human illnesses and animal deaths have occurred recently from neurotoxins secreted by a heavy slime of blue and green algae floating on Ohio’s largest lake—Grand Lake St. Mary’s (Grand Lake) in Auglaize and Mercer Counties. This is a lake that has been deteriorating for decades, but especially so in the past 10 years as factory farms have sprung up all over the area, and more are being built.
A high concentration of factory farms and the application of composted manure from CAFO (confined animal feeding operations) manure and sewage treatment sludge (humanure, now called biosolids—a mixture of concentrated human excrement and industrial discharges) is spreading toxic and infectious substances on farmlands close by and in the watershed. CAFOs in the watershed area account for 3 million chickens; while sewage sludge spreading is permitted on 8800 Ohio farmlands—several close to the edge of Grand Lake.
Pollutants discharging into the lake also include fertilizer runoff (phosphorus, potassium and nitrogen (PKN) as well as some pesticides and herbicides—as is commonly known. But there is far more to the story, including heavy metals (like lead, arsenic and chromium), pharmaceuticals, neurotoxins, cancer-causers, viruses, bacteria—and just about every known chemical (60,000 some) known to man and being placed on the farmlands.
EPA and state officials know about this—as does USDA, and their partners in the big food and big agriculture corporations. Yet the smaller farmers are being accused for causing the mess, and homeowners too—while the CAFOs and spreading of sludge are being expanded rapidly though state and federally funded “green” programs and contracted out to a few individuals.
This and other similar situations occurring all around the US are coming to a head and, in sum, may be a far greater impact than the BP Gulf oil spill. The polluted farmlands may never be recovered without being excavated.
This news video on the situation does not feature a CAFO but rather a small 250-head farm using a natural treatment system as an example of the problem, rather than a superfarm. The big farms have gates and security procedures.
Make no mistake, there are increased deaths and illnesses for animals and humans living near CAFOs or lands where human waste is spread, which is well-documented. So far at the Lake, a 43-year old man may be neurologically impaired for life after washing the scum off his dog before the dog died from exposure. The man spent five days in the hospital and is now home hoping to recover. Two other dogs have died from exposure as well as innumerable fish.
The Data: High Levels of Toxins
Both CAFO wastes and sewage sludge contains these types of contaminants and EPA data shows many of these are extremely high levels.
Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs);
Chlorinated pesticides — DDT, dieldrin, aldrin, endrin, chlordane, heptachlor, lindane, mirex, kepone, 2,4,5-T, 2,4-D;
Chlorinated compounds such as dioxins;
Polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons;
Heavy metals — arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury;
Bacteria, viruses, protozoa, parasitic worms, fungi; and
Miscellaneous — asbestos, petroleum products, industrial solvents
EPA data shows high levels of known toxic compounds in these sludge “fertilizers” and are provided in a 2009 report on 74 sewage treatment plants. It shows high levels of contaminants including Arsenic (49 ppm, parts per million), Mercury (8.3 ppm), Aluminum (57,000 ppm=6%). Fluoride (234 ppm). EPA limits on Arsenic is 75 ppm (an additive in chicken feed) and Cadmium, 85 ppm. These are the maximum levels detected on a dry-weight basis. These are so high the wastes would be classified as a hazardous waste requiring treatment– but not is it used as soil amendments.
Pharmaceuticals (Ciprofloxcine, 50 ppm—Fluoxentine 3.1 ppm (this is Prozac)—Ibupropen (119 ppm), triclocarban (44 ppm). Levels of the tricloscan , the anti-bacterial compound in hand soap, was 133 ppm. These are maximum levels on a dry-weight basis.
To continue reading the rest of this story, please visit The Journal of Food and Natural Healing.
The Journal of Whole Food and Nutrition is all about traditional food– old world cuisine like eggs and bacon, grass-fed beef with fat in, real bread and butter, garden fresh vegetables, soaked whole-grain cereal with cream and honey and, of course clean raw milk and pure lard – the foods that give us health and strength.
Being talked out of enjoying this food by modern health, medical and food industries, has helped lead the US into malnutrition, diseases, disorders and obesity.
The Journal of Whole Food and Nutrition offers articles and comment on farm fresh foods, the Farm Enforcement Report, with a dash of news of medical research on positive effects of real foods and health detriments of imitation, factory food.
Augie recently retired from 15 years in business as a national publisher, consultant and conference producer in the environmental, health and safety field for the automotive and transportation industry. He is now employed as an air pollution engineer in an EPA-contracted county regulatory agency. He and his wife Annie are small homesteaders and parents of an autistic son, Dave Jr. He is a co-director of Ohio Connections to Natural Food and Healing and publisher of the Journal of Natural Food and Healing. Augie’s most recent venture is Alliance for Raw Milk Internationale to help in the development of the sustainable farm and food industry. In April 2010, Augie and his wife launched a local farm food publication called Living Food with national and local sponsors and is being test marketed in two states. His interests in the food, nutrition and health field is in teaching and education and with special interest in autism and other neurological disorders. He is a member of The Weston A. Price Foundation and the Price-Pottenger Nutritional Foundation.
It is really quite staggering the deleterious effects had on human health and the environment by conventional farming and factory farm facilities – the bulk of which comprise where people buy their food in this country.
The recent massive egg recall and meat recall from Walmart should be a loud wakeup call about how food safety in this country is responsible for an enormous public health crisis. Food recalls are becoming so commonplace that people don’t seem to make the connection between the way the food is grown and farmed and why it is making us sick. So far removed are we from where our food originates, we have become complacent and ignorant about the rippling effects these facilities and farming practices have on literally everything in our environment.
Government and food safety experts insist the way to manage this problem is through yet more and tighter safety regulations. But haven’t we learned our lesson yet? Here are some facts about this issue:
- Until the advent of industrial farming, there has never been a problem with Salmonella in eggs. This type of environment crams hundreds of thousands of hens together in the most unnatural, filthy conditions.
- The company producing these eggs has repeatedly violated rules and regulations, so this is not the first time.
- Wright County Egg and many others like it are not required to follow standard food safety plans. Whatever they are “required” to do has always been voluntary.
Bottom line is, mandatory rules or no, this system doesn’t work. It will continue to contaminates food, water, soil, air, and our bodies until changes are made at the source level. This pollution problem, as discussed in this information by David Michael should be yet another eye-opener about the consequences of our industrial food system. It’s yet another example of farms managing their businesses irresponsibly, and polluting everything around them just to make a profit.
Factory farms are a modern scourge that plagues our food supply, soil, air, and waterways. Remember that food recalls, pollution, and toxic waste dumping doesn’t occur as a result of safe, responsible, sustainable farming. In every instance where there is a food recall, it’s normally due to food originating from a large, multi-million or billion dollar corporation who puts marketing and advertising in the top of their spending budgets. They are there to make a profit, not bring you products that are healthy to consume.
What can you do to change the situation with food recalls?
- Buy your food locally
- Avoid food processed foods, especially at grocery stores and supermarkets unless it is from a source you know and trust
- Know what goes on where your food is produced
- Make relationships with your farmer and get to know others in your community who care about sustainability and food choices
- Support companies, farmers, and businesses who care about human health, the environment, and our future
If you think buying fresh, local, organic, sustainable food is too expensive, read what’s been going on in the news lately and consider the alternative!
- disease, illness, death
- massive environmental damage and pollution
- increased doctor, hospital, and medical expenses
- tax increases to pay for the damage incurred by factory farming and businesses
Want to know more about food recalls?