Study says spreading treated sewage sludge may cause illness

Mar 13, 2013

 Audio FileA UNC School of Public Health study indicates the spreading of treated municipal sewage sludge may be causing human illness. George Olsen has more.Edit | Remove

Researchers at the Department of Epidemiology at UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health says it has found evidence of illness in people up to a mile from where the treated sewage solids are spread. More than half of people interviewed in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina say they’ve experienced symptoms such as burning eyes, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The symptoms occurred as the sludge was being applied or soon after. The study notes neighbors of fields where industrial swine operations spray waste note similar symptoms. The study’s first author Amy Lowman cautions the findings are based on a relatively small sample size of 34 people and better tracking of sludge application is needed to better document relationships between sludge application and illness. I’m George Olsen.