Infectious Waste Contaminating Water Supplies
The effects of climate change are becoming more apparent every day. With more air pollution comes more warming, more degradation and more extreme weather. These trends are clearly putting more people in harm’s way. Some of the threats are obvious, while others have been concealed.
The most perilous intersection of public health and global warming involves water quality and quantity. The threat spectrum includes everything from droughts in some regions to hazardous amounts of rainfall in others. Water management in the age of man-made climate change is a cruel double-edged sword. Unfortunately, the mismanagement of infectious waste compounds the threat.
Neurodegenerative disease is already the fastest-growing cause of death in the world. The autism epidemic shares the same trajectory for similar reasons. Because of a contagion, both problems are getting worse and climate change will continue to exacerbate these public health problems and many others.
Alzheimer’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and Parkinson’s disease are more accurately defined as prion disease. We would all be better served if we connect the dots and refer to this collective scourge as prion disease. The different names are by design to help cloak the problem.
All forms of prion disease are fatal. It appears that all forms of prion disease are infectious, including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Unlike a virus or bacteria, a prion cannot be stopped. Prion disease is fatal. Prion disease is highly infectious. With every transmission, the prions involved mutate, migrate and multiply. Prions are the ultimate killing machine. Science, however, uncovers the smoking gun.
In my opinion, prion disease is a spectrum disease. The primary difference between Alzheimer’s disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is the severity and trajectory of the disease. The primary difference between Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, however, is the region of the brain under attack. That’s why the presenting symptom with Alzheimer’s disease is memory, while the primary presenting symptom with Parkinson’s disease is movement. The pathogen involved is the same. Prion disease has been found in camels, dolphins, elephants, mink, cats and many other mammals. In livestock, prion disease has been labeled mad cow disease and scrapie.
Dr. Stanley Prusiner, an American neuroscientist from the University of California at San Francisco, earned a Nobel Prize in 1997 for discovering and characterizing prions and prion disease. President Obama awarded Prusiner the National Medal of Science in 2010 to recognize the importance of his research. Important reforms to policies to protect public health, however, have been elusive.
We all have healthy prions in our bodies. When prions start misfolding, all hell breaks loose. It’s the neurological equivalent of cancer, radiation poisoning and more all rolled into one.
A variety of factors can trigger prion disease, including genetics, neurotoxins (prion exposure) and head trauma. Prion disease consumes the mind and body. No two cases are identical. The tragedy is that prion disease is a pathway disease. Most pathways are being hidden and mismanaged. Prions are a real-world version of Pandora’s box.
Prion disease is described as a wasting disease that causes a loss of body mass and brain mass. Prion disease is clinically known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE). As the name suggests, TSEs are transmissible via bodily fluids and tissue (milk, blood, saliva, mucus, urine, feces, tissue and skin). What this means is that deadly prion contamination is building up in the world around us. Misinformation and mismanagement are making the problem worse.
“Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common neurodegenerative disease in humans and will pose a considerable challenge to healthcare systems in the coming years,” said Stanley Prusiner, MD, the study’s senior author and director of the UCSF Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases, part of the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences.
Prusiner’s most recent study confirms that Alzheimer’s disease is a prion disease, which means that millions of people with Alzheimer’s disease (and millions who died ahead of them) are highly infectious. Prion diseases are fatal, transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) that affect humans and other animals.
“This shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that amyloid beta and tau are both prions, and that Alzheimer’s disease is a double-prion disorder in which these two rogue proteins together destroy the brain,” said Prusiner. “The fact that prion levels are linked to patient longevity should change how we think about developing treatments for the disease.”
A study published in the journal Nature adds to the evidence about the transmissibility of Alzheimer’s disease between people. A second study by the same scientist in early 2016 supports the claim. All logic says that humans also are passing prion disease to livestock and wildlife. Likewise, animals are transmitting prion disease back to humans via meat, milk and other pathways.
“There has been a resurgence of this sort of thinking, because there is now real evidence of the potential transmissibility of Alzheimer’s disease,” says Thomas Wiesniewski M.D. a prion and Alzheimer’s disease researcher at New York University School of Medicine.
Prions + Pathways = Victims
Prions are such a formidable threat that the U.S. government enacted the Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002, which halted research on prions in all but two specialized laboratories. The U.S. government initially classified prions as select agents that pose an extreme risk to food, water and health systems. After reconsidering the threat to multiple industries, all prion regulations were dropped by governments around the world.
Unfortunately, the implications are profound. Prions are in the milk, urine, feces, blood, saliva, mucus, skin, and cell tissue of all victims. Thanks to misinformation and mismanagement prion pathways threaten each and every person on the planet.
The greatest prion pathway in the world is human sewage. As the human population becomes sicker, the waste stream becomes deadlier. Claudio Soto, PhD, professor of neurology at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston, and his colleagues confirmed the presence of prions in urine. In reality, prions infect the entire body and all bodily fluids of its victims, including feces, blood, mucus and saliva. Caregivers for anyone with neurodegenerative disease beware.
“Our findings open the possibility that some of Alzheimer’s disease cases may arise from an infectious process, which occurs with other neurological diseases such as mad cow disease and its human form, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease,” said Soto.
The greatest prion pathway in the world is human sewage. Wastewater treatment plants are collecting points for prions from infected humans. Since they can’t stop prions, these facilities also serve as prion incubators and distributors.
Wastewater treatment plants collect millions of gallons of this infectious waste every day. Because of the prion factor alone, all by-products and discharges from wastewater treatment plants are infectious waste, which are contributing to the global epidemic of neurodegenerative disease among humans, wildlife, sea mammals and livestock. Because of prions alone, biosolids (sewage sludge) and reclaimed wastewater are lethal. There is no evidence to the contrary.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) confirmed that prions are in sewage and that there is no way to stop them. As such, the EPA has never issued guidance on prion management within wastewater treatment plants.
In 2018, after years of pressure from this advocate and others, the EPA admitted that its risk assessments on biosolids were incomplete. Unfortunately, tons of biosolids are still dumped on land every day in the U.S. and beyond because of the EPA’s fraudulent risk assessment on biosolids. The risk assessments on reclaimed wastewater have the same problem, but that practice also continues.
Unfortunately, most of this infectious waste is recycled as fertilizer on farms, ranches, gardens, parks, golf courses and school grounds where the prions and other pathogens can kill again. The wastewater also is being reclaimed and reused. It’s contaminating food and water supplies with deadly prions now. It’s been going on for years.
In my opinion, the global prion pandemic is so bad that it has been spreading from humans to wildlife and livestock through human waste streams for years. The dumping of human sewage, also known as biosolids, has spawned cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD) around the world.
Scientists first reported CWD in the U.S. and then Canada. Both nations tried to blame the problem on captive deer that escaped into the wild. Then the disease emerged in reindeer in Finland and Norway. I don’t think a captive deer in North America escaped and swam the Atlantic to infect Scandinavian wildlife. These nations, however, dump most of their sewage on land where it exposes wildlife to human neurological disease. These nations have fairly high rates of Alzheimer’s disease. In the same region, it appears that pilot whales in the Baltic Sea also are contracting prion disease. The same is likely happening to all marine mammals and land mammals. Sewage is contaminating, land, sea and our air.
In deer, elk and reindeer, prion disease is called chronic wasting disease. Sure, they can transmit it back and forth to each other. They also can transmit it back to humans via their meat and other byproducts. Infected wildlife also can infect soil, surface water runoff and groundwater. The same cycle of life applies to livestock.
The neurotoxins found in sewage, including heavy metals, also are contributing to the global spike in autism, which follows the same timing and trajectory as the spike in neurodegenerative disease among adults.
The Land Application Of Biosolids
Biosolids are solid organic matter recovered from a sewage treatment process and used as fertilizer. Land application involves the spreading of biosolids on the soil surface or incorporating or injecting biosolids into the soil. Biosolids land application occurs at various sites including agricultural lands, forests, mine reclamation sites, and other disturbed lands, parks, and golf courses. Composted and treated biosolids are used frequently by landscapers and nurseries and by homeowners for lawns and home gardens. Land application has been practiced for decades. However, as the planet is now burdened with a prion pandemic, it’s time to think again.
Approximately 400 pollutants have been found in biosolids, including heavy metals, radioactive waste and deadly prions. Biosolids are used and disposed. Uses include agricultural and non-agricultural land application.
In the United States and Europe, most of the sewage sludge (biosolids) is applied to farmland as a cheap disposal method. Farmers are being paid to accept the toxic waste under the guise of fertilizer. In 2019, the United States generated 4.75 Million Dry Metric Tons (DMT) of biosolids. The European Union produced about twice that amount.
The U.S. disposed of this toxic and infectious waste as follows:
- Dumped 1.4 million tons on agricultural land;
- Dumped 1 million tons to non-agricultural land;
- Incinerated 765,000 tons of biosolids;
- Landfilled 1 million tons of biosolids; and
- Dumped 498,000 thousand tons of biosolids using other disposal practices, including deep well injection.
The U.S.has some of the highest rates of Alzheimer’s disease in the world. Statistics are lacking in all countries, so accurate comparisons are difficult. Suffice it to say, dumping infectious waste into food and water supplies isn’t helping the problem in any country.
Critics claim that current regulations on sewage sludge don’t protect public health or the environment. People who live near land application sites report illness following dumping activity. Most people blame their physical symptoms on the sludge application. Most noted offensive sludge odors at first followed by various symptoms.
Most people who live in or near dumping zones reported sludge spillage on public roadways and private property. They also reported cattle grazing on land recently treated with sewage sludge, the absence of warning signs at dumping sites, and sludge runoff into surface waters.
“Since it’s unlikely that the sewage treatment process can effectively stop prions, adopting measures to prevent the entry of prions into the sewer system is advisable,” said the Toronto Department of Health in November 2004.
Once unleashed on the environment, prions remain infectious. They migrate, mutate and multiply as they infect crops, water supplies, wildlife, livestock, sea mammals and humans. According to prion researcher Joel Pedersen at the University of Wisconsin, prions in soil become up to 680 times more infectious. From there, they migrate, mutate and multiply. It’s a real world version of Pandora’s Lunchbox.
“Our results suggest that if prions enter municipal wastewater treatment systems, most prions would bond to sewage sludge, survive anaerobic digestion, and be present in treated biosolids,” Pedersen said. “Land application of biosolids containing prions represents a route for their introduction into the environment. I emphasize the importance of keeping prions out of municipal wastewater treatment systems.”
Pedersen also found that sewage treatment does not inactivate prions. Therefore, prions are lethal, mutating, migrating and multiplying everywhere sewage (biosolids) is dumped.
Prions reach sewage treatment plants via slaughterhouses, hospitals, dental offices and mortuaries just to name a few of the pathways. The disposal of sludge represents the greatest risk of spreading prion contamination in the environment. Plus, we know that pathogens, pharmaceutical residue and chemical pollutants found in sewage sludge are taken up by plants and vegetables.”
Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) in the United States generate approximately eight million dry tons of biosolids each year. Biosolids is a green washed name for sewage sludge—the most toxic and variable part of the wastewater treatment process. Sewage sludge was deemed too toxic to dump at sea, but the EPA gave its blessing to dump millions of tons of this toxic waste on farms, ranches, parks, school grounds, golf courses and gardens. Since biosolids are rich in some nutrients, farmers, landscapers, and homeowners use about 50 percent of all biosolids as fertilizer.
The problem of waterways polluted from land where biosolids have been spread has been particularly intense in parts of Florida. In 2012 the Legislature banned spreading biosolids on farmland in the Lake Okeechobee, St. Lucie River and Caloosahatchee River watersheds. Since then, the practice has spiked in other areas, such as the St. Johns River watershed in Indian River County, which is where a new serious problem has emerged.
A Treasure Coast Newspapers (TCPalm) investigation published February 7, 2017 showed how biosolids spread on a ranch in Indian River County could be polluting Blue Cypress Lake. Soon after the newspaper’s investigation, a Fort Pierce scientist confirmed a highly toxic algae bloom in the lake.
On July 20, 2018 the TCPalm ran the story that the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council, representing 52 city and county governments, unanimously adopted a resolution for a moratorium on sludge spreading and to begin an investigation into alternative disposal options.
Waste management interests do not support the council’s resolution, claiming that over-application of biosolids is the sole problem in Indian River County and that biosolids used as fertilizer offer many benefits to farmers, who receive biosolids for free. Those who can’t be conned are paid to help dump the toxic waste. Fortunately, some landowners can’t be bribed.
The risks associated with the land application of sewage sludge are well documented. Add the prion pandemic and global warming to the equation and we have a public health disaster on our hands. Winds and waters are carrying more than we realize.
Unfortunately, prions linger in the environment, homes, hospitals, nursing homes, dental offices and beyond infinitely. Prions defy all attempts at sterilization and inactivation. If they can’t stop prions in the friendly and sterile confines of an operating room, they can’t stop them in the wastewater treatment plant.
Dr. Soto also confirmed that plants uptake prions from the soil and water. The plants become fatally infectious to those who consume them. Even wildlife and sea mammals are contracting brain disease from people because of the dumping of infectious waste on farms, ranches and forests. Humans, wildlife and livestock are vulnerable to prion disease via crops and plants grown on land treated with infectious waste (sewage sludge, biosolids and reclaimed wastewater).
Crops for humans and livestock grown in sewage sludge absorb prions and other neurotoxins. They become infectious. We’re all vulnerable to neurotoxins right now due to widespread denial and mismanagement. It’s time to stop the land application of sewage sludge (LASS) in all nations. Safer alternatives exist.
Prion disease has been spreading rampantly without extreme weather. Now, climate change is building momentum for wastewater reclamation in drought-stricken areas.
Millions of gallons of wastewater are reclaimed and reused around the world every day. It’s also being used to recharge aquifers. Unfortunately, wastewater is hopelessly contaminated with deadly prions. If you need proof, ask your local wastewater recyclers to pull out the risk assessments on the practice. Ask to see the section on prion inactivation and elimination. That vital detail is missing from the risk assessments, which makes the practice illegal.
California is one of the most intensely cultivated states in the union. Agriculture is a $50 billion industry. But the state is overdrawn on its water resources. Overdrawing groundwater has caused the land to sink in the Central Valley by as much as 28 feet. Farmers are drilling deeper wells to survive. Some towns are gone.
The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) set up local groundwater sustainability agencies to help restore the state’s aquifers to sustainable levels within 20 years. To make up the water deficit, California is embracing the wastewater revolution.
Orange County reclaims 130 million gallons of water daily. Much of it is used as drinking water. San Diego’s toilet-to-tap program will provide one-third of the city’s water supply by 2035. Meanwhile, many California cities use treated wastewater for landscaping, golf courses and parks. The lakes, fountains, and waterfalls at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, are filled with treated wastewater. Similar practices are in place around the world. All could be contributing to the global spike in autism and neurodegenerative disease.
Canaries In A Coalmine
As stated earlier, neurodegenerative disease is the fastest-growing cause of death in the world. Neurodegenerative disease among wildlife has been surging in the U.S. and Canada in a pattern that mirrors the spike among humans. Of course, the sick animals are just proverbial canaries in a coalmine. Their health mirrors our own.
There isn’t a single pathway driving the prion pandemic. Unfortunately, each victim becomes a walking time bomb as they expose everyone and everything around them. Prion aversion is our only hope.
Dumping infectious waste in designated areas is already contributing to a public health disaster. Extreme weather, including hurricanes, tornadoes and flooding are spreading infectious waste, while contaminating groundwater, rivers, lakes and oceans. Water quality has always been a public health concern. Ignoring the growing prion threat to water supplies in the age of global warming and climate change is reckless and negligent.
Sewage sludge should be considered a hazardous waste, not an agricultural fertilizer. If you stop to consider the nature of the waste that is being spread on our crop lands it is really an ecological crime that is being perpetrated on us all as a safe alternative to dumping this waste into our waterways as was the practice prior to the Clean Water Act. Applying contaminated waste to our farmland reintroduces pollutants into the food chain.
The planet’s capacity for human waste is limited. Our search for answers begins with the truth. We must identify the sources of all contaminants and we must minimize and manage them responsibly. In the face of global warming and climate change, waste management and water management overlap more than ever. I’m sorry to say that sewage isn’t drinking water, fertilizer or a biofuel. The EPA no longer can support the practice with fake risk assessments.