Email from Ben Oostdam to Helane Shields

et al. Nov.3, 2003:

Hi Helane:

Prompted by Julie Fasching's Email, (I think), I wrote a brief Email to Mr Toffey

and asked him to explain the items in (Y)our website : Sludgevictims

Here is his response, and I'd be happy to post it on the

site to let others enjoy seeing how dumb we are if we disagree that sludge is good for you.

Of course, he'll laud the Water Federation's Initiative, like the fox would if a committee
of foxes were to redesign chickenhouses. Undoubtedly, he agrees that EPA
did a good thing to get rid of David Lewis, the meddler.

He is familiar with our site but would "guess" that it contains Tony Behun's story.

Well, similarly, I would "guess" that if a thing smells like a rat, sounds like a rat and
leaves teethmarks and footprints like a rat, it probably is a rat.
But if the persons responsible for safeguarding us from rats behave like EPA
and the State Agencies , we will never find evidence that it truly is/was a rat.
Even if the rat is killed, it was not the rat that caused

the problem, they'll maintain, because rats are good for you or we did not conclusively

determine that rats cause damage , .....

Perchance a scientist would not be the right person to prove things.  After all, "Experts in

>public and environmental health have determined no association between the

>cause of death and biosolids exists. ". So much for a scientist and expert.
I  personally would not risk my neck on making such a statement, and feel it would be
very tough to establish with veracity if this were a lawcase and one had
to prove that there was NO association whatsoever.

Perhaps the jury is out on that.

 Maybe  a real jury ought to be asked to look over the available evidence, unbiased through
 association with EPA, Water Federation and Synagro, but just
consisting of randomly selected citizens. Perhaps that jury should be meeting in a house close to a field
where biosolids are applied, just so their verdict does not
take as long as it is taking EPA to find out that they are wrong and that it's they who have been
acting as the real bio-terrorists we ought to fear .

Inviting your comments and advice, and best regards!

======= *]~~~< ======== >~~~[* ==========
Ben Oostdam, Ph.D. ,
Professor of Oceanography (Emeritus 1997)
Managing Director, ESRA
Environmental Science Research Associates

>To: "Ben Oostdam"
>Subject: Re: sludge effects

>Date: Mon, 3 Nov 2003 13:40:45 -0500
>Dear Dr. Oostdam,
>I am familiar with the website. There is an initiative by the Water
>Environment Research Federation to develop a protocol to study allegations
>of harm when they first arise, so that objective medical examination can
>be made and the exposure route to biosolids studied on a timely basis.
>Given the scrutiny of and concern with the safety of our recycling
>program, I am a supporter of this initiative.
>Philadelphia has under contract an environmental toxicologist at Thomas
>Jefferson University who provides a comprehensive medical monitoring
>program for our biosolids workers. When I spoke to him about the "sludge
>victims" website, he explained that self-reported symptoms of illnesses
>after the fact are notoriously unreliable in environmental epidemiology
>and occupational toxicology. He noted that the reported symptoms are
>scattered over a very broad range (no common route of exposure or
>causative agent) and many can be induced by highly charged emotional
>Our toxicologist has been working with Philadelphia's biosolids workers
>for about a dozen years and has not encountered medical conditions that he
>believes draw a connection between worker health and the workplace
>I have looked closely at the two allegations of harm to children in
>Pennsylvania and the case of the young adult in New Hampshire. Experts in
>public and environmental health have determined no association between the
>cause of death and biosolids exists.
>I know the Behun case better than the other two. I can speak from
>personal knowledge that the biosolids material taken to the site of
>alleged exposure was free of indicators of human pathogens and was neutral
>in pH. The story first arose five years after the boy's death, and
>verification of the incident almost impossible to achieve. The allegation
>took on a life of its own, appearing in a succession of newspapers, up to
>the national level, without any shred of evidence to sustain it. Even
>though the data I have shows that speculated route of exposure and harm is
>entirely without legitimate foundation, the story has become "fact". I
>would guess, for instance, that Tony Behun appears on the sludge victims
>I would ask, drawing upon your training in environmental sciences, if you
>have any recommendations to wastewater managers for what they should do
>to better address the issues of alleged health impacts? After all,
>wastewater workers have both their professional reputations as
>environmental and public health providers as well as their own health at
>Bill Toffey

BLO fecit 20031103