Gardeners wanting to grow organic vegetables need to be wary this season, as “organic compost” filled with human sewage sludge and industrial and mortuary waste has been found floating around the market.
This slap-in-the-face to genuinely organic gardening started because sludge companies are permitted to take sludge left in wastewater treatment plants and sell it as an organic amendment seen in garden centers and big-box stores, which many organic gardeners are unaware about. This is a significant issue, especially because the sludge is stuffed with pharmaceuticals, heavy metals, industrial waste, and gender-altering, hormone-wrecking chemicals—the same stuff organic-heeding farmers are attempting to avoid to begin with.
Sewage sludge-induced problems aren’t just contained in bagged compost, either, as plenty of United States farms actually fertilize with human sewage sludge, which causes fumes and toxic dust to stagnate in adjacent communities. A 2013 study out of the University of North Carolina realized that residents living near fields covered with sewage sludge remained indoors more often because of the awful odors.
What might come as a shock to many people in sludge areas is that former studies realized people living near sewage sludge-treated crops endured more headaches, skin rashes, breathing and stomach problems, and other health issues.
Regardless of whether you live near a sludge field, you can maintain healthy soil and keep it out of your own garden with some persistence. Unless you make your own compost, the best option is to be consistently skeptical about bagged organic soil amendments. For example, steer clear of compost that has the word “biosolids” as an ingredient, which is simply a euphemism for human sewage sludge. Compost should look crumbly, dark, and hold an earthy odor– not caked together and carrying an ammonia or sewer scent.
Products seen on the Organic Materials Review Institute list don’t hold sewage sludge because they’re permitted in organics. Looking for “compost” on the OMRI database offers sludge-free soil products from Organic Mechanics as well as many other trusted organic suppliers, too.
Always consult your chiropractor or primary care physician for all your health related advice.
This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.