Nancy Stoner

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WARNING! Sewage sludge is toxic. Food should not be grown in "biosolids." Join the Food Rights Network.

Nancy Stoner became the Deputy Assistant Administrator at the U.S. EPA's Office of Water in early 2010.[1] As noted in an announcement of her new position at EPA:

"This is her second tenure with EPA, as she directed the Office of Planning and Policy Analysis in the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance from 1997 to 1999. Prior to that, she served as project director and attorney for the Clean Water Project for nearly ten years. She was a trial attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice’s Environment & Natural Resources Division before that. Since 1999, she was the co-director and senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Water Program.
"Nancy is a national expert with vast experience in using the Clean Water Act to protect rivers, lakes, and coastal waters from contaminated stormwater, sewer overflows, factory farms, and other sources of water pollution. She earned her J.D. from Yale University Law School in 1986 and B.A. in 1982 from the University of Virginia. She is admitted to the bars of the District of Columbia and Maryland."[2]

Stoner Calls for Better Regulation of Sewage Sludge

In the past, NRDC's founder, John H. Adams has voiced support for the practice of disposing of sewage sludge (renamed biosolids) by using it as fertilizer on farms and gardens. However, in 2002, NRDC released a press release titled "This Just In: Sludge May Be Hazardous to Your Health."[3] The press release states:

"The government is using outdated science in assessing the health risk of sewage sludge used as fertilizer. According to a new report by the National Research Council, the standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1993 on the use of "biosolids" for treating soil are based on an unreliable survey identifying hazardous chemicals in sewage sludge from wastewater treatment plants. The NRC panel concluded that the agency needs to do more scientific study on the risks to people from exposure to chemicals and disease-causing pathogens in sludge used as fertilizer.
"The panel's report underscores that current federal regulations on applying sludge do not protect public health, according to NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). Earlier this year, EPA and NRDC reached a legal settlement that requires the agency to develop a plan to address NRC's recommendations."

In the press release, Nancy Stoner, director of NRDC's Clean Water Project from 1999 to 2010, is quoted as calling the EPA's policy of land application of sludge "not safe." Furthermore, the press release notes that "The NRC panel's report found that EPA's sludge regulations may fail to protect the public from infectious diseases as well as toxic chemicals that cause long-term debilitating illnesses, including cancer." It goes on to note other studies that point to hazards of land application of sewage sludge: "Two years ago, the Centers for Disease Control identified Class B sewage sludge as a potential hazard for workers handling the material. In 1997, the Cornell University Waste Management Institute warned that federal sludge regulations undermine agricultural productivity and fail to protect the environment and public health. Meanwhile, two EPA inspector general reports have concluded that the agency cannot guarantee that land application protects human health and the environment because there is not enough data or enforcement."

Stoner followed up in 2003, criticizing the EPA for its decision not to regulate dioxins in sewage sludge.

"Dioxins cause cancer and diabetes, as well as nervous system and hormonal problems," said Nancy Stoner, director of NRDC's Clean Water Project. "And the EPA is required by law to protect the public from toxic pollutants like dioxins. This decision shows the agency under this administration has forgotten its mission."[4]

and

"EPA traditionally limits public exposure to chemicals if they pose a cancer risk of one per 1 million Americans," Stoner explained. "But the risk is 1 in 10,000 from the dioxins we already have in our bodies. And cancer isn't the only problem. The EPA itself has said that the non-cancer risks of dioxins are so high that it can't even calculate a 'safe' or acceptable level of exposure. To us that says EPA should keep dioxins out of our food, and that means, among other things, regulating sewage sludge."[5]

In 2003, NRDC recommended to the EPA:

  • "Prohibit sludge application on land used for pasture or growing forage food for livestock that will be consumed by humans;
  • "Set a dioxins limit at 1 in one million cancer risk to protect public health;
  • "Ban land application to sites where dioxin levels in the soil(sic) 1 parts per trillion (based on ecological risks that cannot be alleviated by management measures, such as banning application to pasture lands, which would reduce risks to human health); and
  • "Require pollution prevention programs for sludges with detectible amounts of dioxins."[6]

References

  1. Nancy Stoner Rejoins EPA In Office of Water, Center for Environment, Commerce & Energy, February 1, 2010, Accessed May 9, 2011.
  2. Nancy Stoner Rejoins EPA In Office of Water, Center for Environment, Commerce & Energy, February 1, 2010, Accessed May 9, 2011.
  3. This Just In: Sludge May Be Hazardous to Your Health, Natural Resources Defense Council, July 3, 2002, Accessed May 9, 2011.
  4. EPA Will Not Protect Public From Dioxins In Land-Applied Sewage Sludge, Natural Resources Defense Council, October 17, 2003, Accessed May 12, 2011.
  5. EPA Will Not Protect Public From Dioxins In Land-Applied Sewage Sludge, Natural Resources Defense Council, October 17, 2003, Accessed May 12, 2011.
  6. EPA Will Not Protect Public From Dioxins In Land-Applied Sewage Sludge, Natural Resources Defense Council, October 17, 2003, Accessed May 12, 2011.

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