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A High-Level Disinfection Standard for Land-Applied Sewage Sludges (Biosolids)

David K. Gattie and David L. Lewis
Environmental Health Perspectives
Vol. 112, No. 2 (Feb., 2004), pp. 126-131
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3435552
Page Count: 6
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A High-Level Disinfection Standard for Land-Applied Sewage Sludges (Biosolids)
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Abstract

Complaints associated with land-applied sewage sludges primarily involve irritation of the skin, mucous membranes, and the respiratory tract accompanied by opportunistic infections. Volatile emissions and organic dusts appear to be the main source of irritation. Occasionally, chronic gastrointestinal problems are reported by affected residents who have private wells. To prevent acute health effects, we recommend that the current system of classifying sludges based on indicator pathogen levels (Class A and Class B) be replaced with a single high-level disinfection standard and that methods used to treat sludges be improved to reduce levels of irritant chemicals, especially endotoxins. A national opinion survey of individuals impacted by or concerned about the safety of land-application practices indicated that most did not consider the practice inherently unsafe but that they lacked confidence in research supported by federal and state agencies.

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