Thank you for your interest in learning more about hazardous and other industrial wastes in fertilizer. It has only been in recent years that the public has become aware of this method of disposal, and only then because of the persistence of a few Washington farmers, a small town mayor and the outstanding investigative skills of a Seattle Times’ reporter Duff Wilson. The resulting investigative series “Fear in the Fields: How Hazardous Waste Becomes Fertilizer” was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize for public service reporting.
Duff Wilson's book "Fateful Harvest, the True Story of a Small Town, a Global Industry and a Toxic Secret" was published in 2001 just days before the attacks of September 11, 2001. Needless to say, the book was overshadowed by the tragic events of 9/11.
As you enter this site to learn more, keep in mind that our children bear a disproportionate burden of the consequences from toxins released into the environment. While we cannot claim this method of disposal is the cause of the rise in childhood health problems, it may be a contributing factor. The most recently released Food and Drug Administration’s Total Diet Study for the period 1991-96 would seem to support at least cause for concern, recording a 50% rise in dietary arsenic since 1986 for both toddlers (2 year olds) and adults age 60-65 and a doubling of dietary arsenic for toddlers between 1984 and 1996.
We are at a point in history, where the silent majority – those who care about the environment and children’s health – can no longer afford to remain silent. The consequences of environmental change are all around us, and like “canaries in the coal mine” our children are paying the price as sentinels. Statistics on childhood illnesses since 1980 are staggering. Asthma has increased 142%; cancer continues to rise at 1% per year; birth defects are rising; and 17% of all children under age 19 have some form of developmental disability. Even the EPA acknowledges the “probable cause” is “environmental toxins” and that most likely the damage is being done in-utero.
We have a unique opportunity to unite behind this issue that literally affects every one of us, and send a clear message to our elected officials that we want nothing less than a clean environment, and healthful food. I implore you to get involved and stay involved until this method of disposal has been banned and protective standards set.
Please join me in protecting our future by demanding safe food and fertilizer. The cure is prevention.
Patricia Anne Martin
Former Mayor, City of Quincy