I probably shouldn’t be shocked, but I am. It’s just hard to believe this
shit sludge still happens, but here it is:
Three more lawmakers are seeking investigations of federally funded
research in poor, black neighborhoods that resulted in sewage sludge
being spread on several families’ lawns in attempt to determine whether
it could combat lead poisoning in children.
Sen. Barbara Mikulski and Rep. Elijah Cummings, both D-Md., wrote to
departing Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson on
Thursday asking why and how HUD picked nine Baltimore families for the
study and whether they got adequate information about the potential
harm. Jackson’s last day in office is Friday.
“We are strong supporters of federal efforts to abate the damage
caused by lead paint. Yet this study has raised serious questions about
the safety of the families who participated in the study,” they wrote.
The Associated Press reported Sunday that the mix of human and
industrial wastes from sewage treatment plants was spread on the lawns
of nine low-income families in Baltimore and a vacant lot next to an
elementary school in East St. Louis, Ill.
Researchers were trying to show whether lead in the soil from chipped paint and car exhausts would bind to the sludge.
“This article raises serious allegations that federal grants may
have been used for unethical research as well as questions about the
wisdom of using taxpayer dollars for these grants,” Issa wrote in a
letter Tuesday to Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., who chairs the committee.
The research conducted in 2001 and 2002 was funded by the Department
of Housing and Urban Development, the Agriculture Department and the
Environmental Protection Agency.
Researchers said the families were assured the sludge was safe, but
were not told that there have been some health concerns over heavy
metals, pharmaceutical residues, chemicals and the use of sludge.
The study concluded that phosphate and iron in sludge can increase the
ability of soil to trap more harmful metals, including lead, cadmium
and zinc, causing the combination to pass safely through a child’s body
if eaten. Other researchers disputed that finding. An AP review of
grant documents found no evidence of any medical follow-up.
More here including past controversial studies conducted by the above study’s author.