Burning eyes, burning lungs, skin rashes and other symptoms of illness have been found in a study of residents living near land fertilized with Class B biosolids, a byproduct of the human waste treatment process.
This study is the first linking adverse health effects in humans to the land application of Class B biosolids to be published in a medical journal. It was co-authored by David Lewis, a UGA research microbiologist also affiliated with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)s National Exposure Research Laboratory; David Gattie, assistant professor of agricultural engineering at the University of Georgias College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; Marc Novak, a research technician at UGAs School of Marine Sciences; Susan Sanchez, assistant professor of veterinary medicine at UGA; and Charles Pumphrey, a physician from Prime Care of Sun City in Menifee, Calif. The article appeared this month in the British medical journal, BMC Public Health.
Researchers found that affected residents lived within approximately one kilometer (0.6 miles) of land application sites and generally complained of irritation after exposure to winds blowing from treated fields. A prevalence of Staphylococcus aureus infections, a condition commonly accompanying diaper rash, was found in the skin and respiratory tracts of some individuals. Approximately 25 percent of the individuals surveyed were infected, and two died. The 54 individuals surveyed lived near 10 land application sites in Alabama, California, Florida, New Hampshire, Ohio, Ontario, Pennsylvania and Texas. S. aureus is commonly found in the lower human colon and tends to invade irritated or inflamed tissue.
Kim Carlyle | EurekAlert!
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