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From : 
"hshields" <hshields@worldpath.net>
 
To : 
"Hess, David E." <davidhess@state.pa.us>
 
CC : 
<m_rainey@des.state.nh.us>, <lawpca@gwi.net>, <pmillner@asrr.arsusda.gov>, <Smith.James@epamail.epa.gov>, <gerba@ag.arizona.edu>, <aaronm@cisunix.unh.edu>, <csawyer@vdh.state.va.us>, <Brobst.Bob@epamail.epa.gov>, <agray@wef.org>, <RUBIN.ALAN@epamail.epa.gov>, <rflanders@des.state.nh.us>, <Whitman.Christine@epamail.epa.gov>, <Bastian.Robert@epamail.epa.gov>, <Mckinnon.Hugh@epamail.epa.gov>, <Schif003@mc.duke.edu>, <ed.snipes@dep.state.fl.us>, <KesteG@mail01.dnr.state.wi.us>, <ned.beecher@nebiosolids.org>, <rcs15@psu.edu>, <RHICKS@vdh.state.va.us>, <ychoi@deq.state.va.us>, <Walker.John@epamail.epa.gov>, <shadeed@wef.org>, "Hess, David E." <davidhess@state.pa.us>
 
Subject : 
Re: Mr. Hess's comments - RE; NEW HAMPSHIRE SLUDGE DEATH CASE - DEATH OF TONY BEHUN - DR. DAVID LEWIS' REPLY
 
Date : 
Fri, 5 Jul 2002 21:05:13 -0400
 
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Mr. Hess ..... reference is made to your statement to Dr. David Lewis:
 
"In the New Hampshire case you were involved in where a scientific and legal link was alleged earlier this year,  the conclusion was-- "The science developed in this case did not prove that the sewage sludge Synagro's predecessor applied on the Hughes Field in Greenland, New Hampshire, in October 1995 caused or contributed to Shayne Conner's death, nor did the science prove that the sewage sludge caused any of the injuries or illnesses the other residents of Tuttle Lane allegedly suffered."  
 
     That statement is false.  There was no "conclusion" by the Judge or by the Jury or anyone else.   Joanne Marshall was required to sign that statement -- which was written up by Synagro's attorneys -- as a condition to receiving the substantial  payment for the sludge death of her son Shayne Michael Conner.
 
      Anyone with half a brain  is well aware  that self-serving statement prepared by Synagro is scientifically and legally meaningless and represents nothing more than a sop to Synagro to ease their pain in writing the check!!
 
      This was a desperate attempt by Synagro to discredit Dr. David Lewis, probably  because of their fear and apprehension that they  might meet him again in court at some future trial over some other sludge victim's death.
 
*******************************************************************************************************************************************
 
     FURTHERMORE, regarding the  veracity of your statement regarding Pennsylvania's "scientific investigation" into the sludge death of Tony Behun:
 
"With respect to the Pennsylvania cases, scientific investigation was hampered in both cases because allegations linking the tragic deaths to land application of biosolids were made five or more years after the deaths.  The investigative work done by our agency after the allegations surfaced could find no link and that's what we reported along with the limitations of our work and anyone else who investigated these cases. "
 
I call your attention to letter dated August 7, 2000 from PA. Dept. of Health to the Honorable Camille George:
 
Third paragraph:
 
"Because of this and as was pointed out by Ms. Schuyler in her June 19, 2000 correspondence to Mrs. Robertso, The Departmet of Health was involved in a very limited capacity in this matter AND, IN FACT, DID NOT CONDUCT AN INVESTIGATION INTO TONY BEHUN'S DEATH."
 
*******************************************************************************************************************************************************
 
The PA DEP prevaricated when it said Tony Behun died of a bee sting.
 
The PA DEP prevaricated when it said Staphylococcus Aureus is not a pathogen found in sewage sludge.
 
The PA DEP prevaricated when its spokesman stated on Fox TV November 15, 2000  that "NIOSH investigated the case ad concluded Tony's death was not caused by sludge."
 
FALSE STATEMENTS -- EVERY ONE OF THEM.
***********************************************************************************************************************************************
 
Your malice and that of your cohorts in the EPA and waste industry  toward Dr. Lewis is despicable and very telling as to your character or lack thereof.      You all should be so fortunate as to have 1% of his credibility and valor.
 
**********************************************************************************************************************************
 
Cornell has accumulated reports of 257 sludge victims .... and the total is climbing.   I was just contacted this week by some people whose animals are dying.   Their feed was grown on sludged fields.    Stay tuned . . .
 
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, July 05, 2002 1:24 PM
Subject: RE: Mr. Hess's comments

Dr. Lewis, as you know our staff has sought out from you directly in writing and in person any scientific information you have that would provide a valid link biosolids applications and illnesses and deaths reported in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.  
 
In the New Hampshire case you were involved in where a scientific and legal link was alleged earlier this year,  the conclusion was-- "The science developed in this case did not prove that the sewage sludge Synagro's predecessor applied on the Hughes Field in Greenland, New Hampshire, in October 1995 caused or contributed to Shayne Conner's death, nor did the science prove that the sewage sludge caused any of the injuries or illnesses the other residents of Tuttle Lane allegedly suffered."
 
But regardless of the state of science now, our agency, like others, has consistently supported and funded scientific research to understand the public health and environmental impacts from land application of biosolids and in fact support the conclusions of the most recent National Research Council report that more needs to be done.  We think it is also important to point out the NRC report says, "There is no documented scientific evidence that the Part 503 (EPA's sludge regulations) has failed to protect public health."
 
With respect to the Pennsylvania cases, scientific investigation was hampered in both cases because allegations linking the tragic deaths to land application of biosolids were made five or more years after the deaths.  The investigative work done by our agency after the allegations surfaced could find no link and that's what we reported along with the limitations of our work and anyone else who investigated these cases.  And Dr. Lewis, you know the "bee sting" remark was made before we began our scientific investigation, not as a result of it.
 
As you also know since you were involved, our agency offered in writing and in person to split original samples with the Pennock's, but, as Pennsylvania law requires, landowner permission was needed to provide the samples and it was not obtained by the Pennock's or by you.  In addition, our agency requested to review the medical records of Daniel Pennock and the family, which is their right, did not make them available.  We are also not aware that anyone with the appropriate medical training reviewed the medical records.
 
I renew our request, do you have any additional scientific data that would help draw a direct link between the land application of biosolids and the illnesses and deaths involved in these allegations? 
 
We as much as anyone want to know the truth because we are Moms and Dads too. 
 
-- David Hess

Shape Your Environmental Future Now!
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-----Original Message-----
From: LewisDaveL@aol.com [mailto:LewisDaveL@aol.com]
Sent: Friday, July 05, 2002 11:44 AM
To: sshepherd@bioset.com
Cc: davidhess@state.pa.us; hshields@worldpath.net; shadeed@wef.org; Walker.John@epamail.epa.gov; ychoi@deq.state.va.us; RHICKS@vdh.state.va.us; rcs15@psu.edu; ned.beecher@nebiosolids.org; KesteG@mail01.dnr.state.wi.us; ed.snipes@dep.state.fl.us; Schif003@mc.duke.edu; Mckinnon.Hugh@epamail.epa.gov; Bastian.Robert@epamail.epa.gov; Whitman.Christine@epamail.epa.gov; rflanders@des.state.nh.us; RUBIN.ALAN@epamail.epa.gov; agray@wef.org; Brobst.Bob@epamail.epa.gov; csawyer@vdh.state.va.us; aaronm@cisunix.unh.edu; gerba@ag.arizona.edu; Smith.James@epamail.epa.gov; pmillner@asrr.arsusda.gov; lawpca@gwi.net; m_rainey@des.state.nh.us
Subject: Mr. Hess's comments

FROM: David L. Lewis, Ph.D.
Department of Marine Sciences
University of Georgia

TO: Sam Shepherd, CEO
Bioset, Inc.

Dear Sam,

Thank you for forwarding the comments on our research by David Hess of the PA DEP.  I am copying this response to most of the people to whom Hess's comments about our research were sent.  I hope that at least some of the people who have occupied themselves with efforts to end our research will find something better to do in the future.

Our research into Staphylococcus aureus infections associated with exposure to Class B sewage sludge has been published in two peer-reviewed scientific and medical journals.  We found a prevalence of S. aureus infections among individuals complaining of chemical irritation associated with exposure to sludge.  We concluded that the nature and timing of the infections linked them to sludge exposure, and that the prevalence of S. aureus infections among people exposed to sludge is similar to the prevalence of S. aureus infections among infants with diaper rash.

Mr. Hess claims that a "scientific investigation" into Tony Behun's death discredits our published research.  I assume that Mr. Hess is speaking of the report released by his department several years ago when the PA DEP apologized to the Behun family for first claiming that their son had died of a "bee sting."  The so-called scientific investigation by Mr. Hess's department and the state epidemiologist concluded that Tony could not have died from exposure to sludge because the organism causing his death (Staphylococcus aureus) is not found in sludge.

When PA DEP officials investigated a second death from S. aureus (Daniel Pennock), they sampled the soil in the biosolids-treated field.  The DEP contacted me for any information I had relating to Daniel Pennock's death, and notified the Pennocks that they planned to sample the soil.  I sent the DEP copies of our draft manuscripts.  I also met with DEP officials on one occasion in Washington, DC, and I requested that they provide me with samples of any S. aureus isolates from soil samples taken from the treated field across from the Pennock's house.

The DEP reported that Staphylococcus was among the prevalent bacteria present in soil samples, but claimed that it was an unidentified, non-aureus species.  Mr. Pennock immediately contacted the DEP and asked that they provide me with samples of the cultures to verify that they were indeed non-aureus.  Mr. Pennock was told that the DEP did not keep any of the cultures.  The DEP never responded to my direct request to make the isolates available so that others could verify their identifications.

From what I gathered in my discussions with DEP officials when the soil was being sampled and tested, they only used biochemical tests to establish identifications.  Such tests were designed for clinical isolates and are notoriously unreliable for most environmental isolates.  We were prepared to perform DNA sequencing on their isolates, just as we did on the Brevundimonas isolates from the New Hampshire sludge discussed in our paper published in the British public health journal. 

It is completely disingenuous for Mr. Hess to take the position that our published research does not include any samples of Staphylococcus aureus linking Daniel Pennock's death to sludge when it was his department that refused to share their samples which they claim proved that the Staphylococcus present was non-aureus. 

       The decision by the PA DEP not to provide me with samples of their "non-aureus" Staphylococcus isolated from the Pennock site, or even store any of the samples so anyone could perform DNA analyses on them, is unjustifiable. It is just one more chapter in the completely unscientific and less than open manner that the DEP has conducted its inquiries into sludge-related deaths from Staphylococcus in PA.

Our peer-reviewed scientific articles, the latest National Academy of Sciences report, and an EPA Office of Inspector General report all concluded that illnesses associated with sludge need to be taken seriously, and that EPA and the states have not been doing a proper job overseeing this problem. 

I am saddened to learn that the PA DEP under Mr. Hess has not changed in the face of all of this, and still wants to disregard Tony and Danny's deaths based on their own "scientific" investigations and the ridiculous position that S. aureus, commonly found in the lower human colon, doesn't occur in sewage sludge.  The people of Pennsylvania would be far better served if Mr. Hess and the DEP would use their resources to address problems associated with applying sewage sludge in residential areas rather than trying discredit scientists who document them.

       So far, both Synagro and the WEF have written letters to the EPA Administrator asking that EPA's support of my research end and that I be investigated for alleged policy violations in presenting our research at scientific meetings.  Others both inside and outside of EPA have vigorously joined their cause over the past several years. 

       Almost all of their efforts have been in vain in that EPA has not established that I have ever violated a single policy and all of my research has now been published in the peer-reviewed scientific and medical literature for everyone to see. 

       I do concede, however, that it appears that they have succeeded in putting enough pressure on EPA's Office of General Counsel for OGC to insist that I resign my government job within the year.  It is beyond me how any of them could possibly be proud of what they have done, but I know they will pat each other on the back and say to one another "job well done" when I leave.

       All I have to say is that this is not what America is supposed to be about. When we travel to China later this year, I will have a different perspective on our government. How will I explain to the leaders of Communist China that I will not be able to continue my research at EPA because I lost my job for criticizing government policies?

       Those who have taken pleasure in attacking me personally can continue to do so, and I am sure they will.  I have to think, however, that somewhere down the road thier words will have to leave a bitter taste in their mouths.  I have to think that deep in their hearts they know that they would feel better about themselves if they had handled things differently. 

       I have to think that they already know what their efforts to have me removed from my position at EPA and to discredit me was all about.  It had nothing at all to do with any virtuous goals, such as promoting good science and fostering the recyling of wastes for the public good and a cleaner environment.  Such virtuous goals rest within the scientific peer-review process that weighed the merits of our research and deemed it to be scientifcally sound and worthy of publication. 

       There is no virtue in the goals of those both inside and outside of EPA  who have sought to prevent me from speaking at scientific meetings, or publishing our work, or from ever working at EPA again.  They may rejoice in obtaining some of their goals, but, surely, they can never feel in their hearts that there is any virtue in anything they have done.

-David Lewis
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