Monday, July 22, 2024

Toxic Contaminants Discovered in Biosolid Fertilizers Used in the US

Chemicals in Biosolids: Study Reveals Potential Hazards in Fertilizers

The findings of a new study by Johns Hopkins University researchers have revealed that fertilizers made from the leftovers of wastewater treatment processes may contain traces of potentially hazardous organic chemicals. Published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, the research sheds light on the chemical composition of biosolids across the country, calling for further investigation and potential government regulation.

Using advanced analytical techniques, researchers screened samples of biosolids from wastewater treatment facilities in the US and Canada, uncovering traces of pharmaceuticals, industrial chemicals, and fragrances. Among the compounds detected were bisphenol A (BPA) and carbamazepine, raising concerns about potential risks to human health and the environment.

The study identified 92 compounds present in the majority of samples, prompting researchers to cross-reference them with the EPA’s database to assess their potential hazards. While acknowledging the benefits of using biosolids as fertilizers, researchers emphasized the need for more information to ensure their safety for both agricultural use and public exposure.

With over half of the biosolids produced in the US utilized for agricultural purposes, the study highlights the importance of understanding and addressing any potential risks associated with these fertilizers. The research team plans to further investigate the concentration levels of identified compounds in biosolids and crops grown in biosolid-amended soil, as well as potential risks to those working with these materials.

This study underscores the importance of monitoring and regulating the use of biosolids to protect both human health and the environment. Further research and collaboration between scientists, regulators, and industry stakeholders will be crucial in ensuring the safe and responsible use of these fertilizers.

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