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Originally published April 28 2010

San Francisco's toxic sludge is good for you!

by Ethan A. Huff, staff writer

(NaturalNews) If someone were to begin marketing toxic sewer sludge as "high-quality, nutrient-rich, organic" compost, he or she would likely be considered a crook and possibly sued for false advertising. Unfortunately, this is what the city of San Francisco and Synagro, "the largest recycler of organic residuals in the United States," have begun doing to the people of San Francisco.

Most waste treatment facilities across the U.S. contract treatment and disposal responsibilities to Synagro. Because it is no longer permissible to dump toxic sewage directly in the ocean, most of it ends up being reused on farm fields as "fertilizer." However, San Francisco is the first city to have launched an aggressive public relations campaign to trick its citizens into thinking that the toxic sewage is an organic compost.

A 2008 issue of the magazine Organic Style named San Francisco's mayor, Gavin Newsom, the "World's Greenest Mayor." It lauded his many "green" initiatives which include expanded recycling programs, green building programs, and energy audits.

The latest scam being launched against San Franciscans may have the magazine's editors reeling back their praise. Recognizing that San Franciscans are known for being aggressive against programs that harm the environment, Synagro worked with city officials to devise a unique plan for disposing of the city's toxic waste. Their solution? Name the waste "high-quality, nutrient-rich, organic Biosolids Compost" and give it away to local gardeners.

In a letter to Mayor Newsom, the Organic Consumers Assocation (OCA) urged an end to the practice, citing that "municipal sewage sludge routinely contains thousands of dangerous pathogens, toxic heavy metals, flame retardants, endocrine disruptors, carcinogens, pharmaceutical drugs and other hazardous chemicals coming from residential drains, storm water runoff, hospitals, and industrial plants."

These are hardly the types of things gardeners would willingly dump on their plants and in their soil, but the facts surrounding the source of the "compost" are being withheld. The fact that the city is basically lying to its citizens by claiming that toxic waste is both organic and rich in nutrients is not only shocking but abhorrent.

The Grassroots Netroots Alliance, in conjunction with OCA, have created an "Action Alert" contact page that allows people to contact the City and County of San Francisco and Ed Harrington, Public Utilities Commissioner, to insist that the program be stopped. The last thing America's farms and gardens need is more toxic waste contamination.

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