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Food Chain Breach: Radioactive Sludge Used for Fertilizer on Farms

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Organic Fertilizer or Toxic Sludge page, and our Environment and Climate Resource page.

The revelation that natural gas drilling companies are dumping radioactive waste water into our rivers virtually unregulated was shocking enough, but now the New York Times is reporting that radioactive sludge is being used for fertilizer on our nation's farms. You heard right: radioactive fertilizer - a direct line to the food chain.

Has the whole world gone stark raving mad? Well, if not the whole world, at least the part that handles U.S. environmental regulation.

The news that radioactive material is being used for fertilizer on the farms that produce our vegetables and milk (among other food products) should make even the most permissive pro-industry segments of the American public exceedingly uncomfortable. Radiation outside the food chain - in rivers, for example - is one level of risk, but radiation contamination in the food chain is a much more serious and insidious threat to public health.

This latest bombshell comes from NYT reporter Ian Urbina, who focuses on Pennsylvania environmental regulators in his most recent story on the fracking industry, saying they are " calling for waste treatment plants and drinking water facilities to increase testing for radioactive pollutant and other contaminants, to see whether they are ending up in rivers because of the growth of natural gas drilling in the state."