Corporate Social Responsibility Tested

Kudos to PR Watch and CMD for this excellent story (link below) and thanks to Whole Foods for responding to Mr. Ciasuli and his call for one of the most important reforms in the world. Now those reforms must go even further. One pathogen that the story does not mention is a deadly form of protein called a prion (PREE-on). Prions are the common thread in a deadly protein epidemic that is sweeping the world. It’s killing people and wildlife in record proportions under the name of Alzheimer’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, mad cow disease, and chronic wasting disease.

According to Nobel Prize winning scientist Stanley Prusiner, these are all forms of prion disease. Prion diseases are deadly, incurable, fatal, transmissible and essentially unstoppable. In my opinion, the broader prion epidemic is being mismanaged. Sewage represents a confluence of such mismanagement. For example, people who have prion disease, especially CJD, spread deadly prions through their skin, blood, saliva, mucus, urine and feces–all tissue and fluids that are destined to the sewage treatment plant. That sewage treatment plant can’t stop or even stun deadly prions (ask the EPA or WEF). Therefore, the plant is permanently contaminated from such exposure and further exposes all wastes treated from that point forward.

prion disease and biosolids

Those contaminated wastes are then used as reclaimed wastewater and biosolids–both are spread on crops, parks, golf courses and beyond. Some of the water is now being used in toilet to tap programs or is being injected into groundwater to replenish those supplies. Based on what we already know about prions, these are really bad ideas that demand immediate reform. The same risk is present in most, if not all Alzheimer’s patients (there are 44 million of them around the world today). Global health experts are warning that the epidemic will triple its hold on people within the next two decades. Alzheimer’s is no laughing matter. All prion diseases are deadly (except Parkinson’s), incurable, transmissible and unstoppable.

sewage treatment and disease

As deer and cattle graze on land covered with contaminated biosolids, they can ingest these deadly prions. Rains and irrigation water rinse them into the surface water, groundwater and our drinking water. This exposure could be contributing to the outbreak of chronic wasting disease across North America. There certainly is no proof to the contrary. Species barriers are a myth, so we should look more closely at livestock and dairy herds, too. Infected animals don’t exhibit clinical signs of prion disease (stumbling and drooling, for example) until the end of the disease progression. The stakes are too high to be arrogant and ignorant when it comes to the risks and pathways to our food and water supplies.

It’s time to rethink our sewage treatment and disposal practices around the world. We are recycling deadly diseases that have no cure. Thanks to Whole Foods for taking a step in the right direction. Hopefully, many others will take note of your move and of this broader warning.

For more information about the biosolids and food safety, please visit:

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