Happy Earth Day!
Spring is coming and many of us are planning our gardens. I have been reading about biosolids and want to warn you about the hazards of growing anything in soil that might have been contaminated with them. Biosolids are found in bags of potting soil sold all over the country.
Biosolid is the commonly used term for treated recycled sewage sludge used as agricultural fertilizer.
- Sewage sludge, a waste product that comes from wastewater treatment facilities, is widely applied to agricultural fields as a fertilizer. The use of sewage sludge began with the EPA 503 sludge rule, creating an opening for municipalities to use biosolids containing concentrated amounts of drugs, solvents and chemicals as agricultural fertilizer.
- The EPA identified 352 pollutants in biosolids including metals, pharmaceuticals and flame retardants. The chemicals found in biosolids are the same the EPA calls “priority pollutants,” which by definition trigger human health effects, and are not removed from sewage sludge as most wastewater treatment plants do not have the capacity to eliminate them.
- In a report from the U.S. Office of Inspector General, it was concluded that the EPA is unable to assess the impact of the hundreds of unregulated pollutants applied to land via biosolids on human health and the environment.
- When researchers evaluated 31 fields that had applications of sewage sludge, microplastics were found in the samples, with levels increasing on fields with higher rates of sludge applications.
- While the EPA claims sewage sludge is safe, the long-term effects of sewage sludge on human health and the environment are unknown, but it is suspected to be NOT GOOD.
- Although most people who grow vegetables in their garden want to avoid the use of pesticides and additional toxic chemicals, the compost and organic fertilizers purchased from your local store may contain biosolids. Your best option to avoid sewage sludge is to purchase from a local nursery you know and trust.
In an interview with microbiologist David Lewis, Ph.D., he discusses information he uncovered in three decades working for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Lewis, a former senior-level research microbiologist at EPA-ORD, was terminated for publishing an article that raised concerns over the EPA 503 sludge rule. The rule addresses the standards to be used when sludge is applied to the land.
In his article, Lewis blew the whistle on corruption and conflict of interest at the EPA causing industrial waste and toxins to be added into fertilizer that is then applied to farm land and added to potting soil.
In his book, “Science for Sale: How the US Government Uses Powerful Corporations and Leading Universities to Support Government Policies, Silence Top Scientists, Jeopardize Our Health, and Protect Corporate Profits,” he elaborates on the enormous conflict of interest between U.S. industry and federal regulatory agencies allowing toxins to be spread on land throughout the United States.
This sewage sludge is applied to farmland, gardens, schoolyards, lawns and more across the U.S. The food you eat may very well have come from land treated with sewage sludge, which could have implications for human health and the environment.
When wastewater and stormwater enter wastewater treatment facilities, the solid and liquid waste are separated. The solids are “digested” using bacteria, treated, dried and then sent to landfills or used for agricultural purposes as “fertilizer.”
This sounds disgusting but this practice is allowed and endorsed by the U.S. EPA. It’s not only legal but routine to grow food on sewage sludge-treated land, even though the sludge, by definition, can contain any number of toxic chemicals that may not be removed via treatment. The Center for Food Safety explained:
“These separated processed solids – sewage sludge – contain numerous known and unknown hazardous materials.”
“This includes everything that is flushed into the sewer system, including: household, medical, chemical, and industrial waste; chemicals and metals that leach from the sewer pipes themselves; and novel materials that are created in the wastewater treatment plant as a result of the combination of chemicals and organic compounds present.”
The Guardian quoted former EPA scientist David Lewis, who opposed the use of sewage sludge on cropland. Lewis noted, “Spending billions of dollars to remove hazardous chemicals and biological wastes from water, only to spread them on soil everywhere we live, work and play defies common sense.”
While it’s true that sewage sludge contains similar ingredients to synthetic fertilizer, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, it also contains countless other pollutants that are byproducts of modern-day life. As noted by The Guardian:
” … [T]he excrement from which sludge derives has mixed with any number of 80,000 manmade chemicals that are discharged from industry’s pipes or otherwise pumped into the sewer system.
By the time the mix lands in treatment plants, it can teem with pharmaceuticals, hormones, pathogens, bacteria, viruses, protozoa and parasitic worms, as well as heavy metals like lead, cadmium, arsenic or mercury. It often includes PCBs, PFAS, dioxins, BPAs and dozens of other harmful substances ranging from flame retardants to hospital waste.”
It’s worth noting that while sewage sludge used to be disposed of primarily by burning it or releasing it into the ocean, this practice was banned over concerns that it would pollute the air and water. But spreading it onto soil has somehow received a safety approval from regulatory agencies, including the EPA, which describes them as purely beneficial:
“They [biosolids] are nutrient-rich organic materials resulting from the treatment of domestic sewage in a treatment facility. When treated and processed, these residuals can be recycled and applied as fertilizer to improve and maintain productive soils and stimulate plant growth.”
As part of the Clean Water Act, the EPA must review biosolids standards every two years. Technically speaking, the EPA refers to sewage sludge that has gone through treatment and meets EPA standards for land application as “biosolids.”
In a report from the U.S. Office of Inspector General (OIG) released November 2018, it’s concluded that the EPA is unable to assess the impact of the hundreds of unregulated pollutants applied to land via biosolids on human health and the environment.
While the EPA could conduct full risk assessments to gauge biosolids risks, it is not required to do so. OIG found that the EPA biosolids program was likely not protecting public health and the environment:
Research from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has also shown household chemicals and drugs are found in biosolids originating from wastewater treatment plants. The researchers purchased or obtained nine different biosolids and analyzed them for 87 organic chemicals, finding 55 were detected in measurable amounts and as many as 45 were found in a single sample.
Researchers have also looked into how polyester microfibers may be affecting microorganisms in the soil, especially since sewage sludge is loaded with microfibers. They found that the microplastics did lead to changes in the soil, including altering the bulk density, water-holding capacity and microbial activity.
Microplastics may act like sponges for contaminants including heavy metals, persistent organic pollutants, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) or pathogens, for instance, and may cause harm on a cellular or subcellular level, raising serious questions about the risks of exposing soil to them.
Sewage sludge is passed off as a cost-effective fertilizer for farmers, but some have lost their livelihoods after the toxic waste contaminated their farms. Fred Stone is a farmer from Maine who applied biosolids to his hayfields intended to feed his dairy cattle for decades not knowing it could be contaminated with PFAS, chemicals associated with cancer, liver damage, low birth weight and hypothyroidism.
Milk from Stone’s cows later tested positive for PFAS, forcing him to dump hundreds of gallons of milk a day. In March 2019, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection added a requirement to test sewage sludge for PFAS before it’s applied to land.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, as long-term application of sewage sludge also increases the abundance and diversity of antibiotic resistance genes in soil. In a study from the University of York in the United Kingdom, data even revealed plants suffer when biosolids are applied to the soil.
Even with low-level exposure, the drugs studied interfered with plant hormones that support defense against predators and diseases. The drugs also damaged the plants’ ability to make energy from sunlight, and at higher concentrations the research team saw a drop in the leaves’ levels of chlorophyll. At high concentrations, the plants experienced stunted roots and burnt edges on the leaves.
Foods grown on biosolid-treated soil are not labeled, so your best bet for avoiding them is to support sustainable agriculture movements in your area. Make it a point to only buy food from a source you know and trust. Ask at your co-op to be sure you are buying from farms using safe, nontoxic organic or biodynamic farming methods.
If you grow your own food, also be aware that companies do not have to disclose when biosolids are used, so there’s really no way of knowing what’s in your bag of potting soil or compost. Composted products can have the USDA organic label on them and still be loaded with toxic biosolids.
If you see “milogranite” on the label, it contains biosolids from the City of Milwaukee, a national distributor. Your best bet is to buy organic potting soil and/or compost from a local nursery you know and trust, that can guarantee no biosolids have been added.
I know this was a long blog and I thank you for reading to the end! Occasionally, I don’t want to cut a subject into parts but I do want to deliver this information to my readers!
From Mercola, Is Your Food Grown in Sewage?, January 21, 2020
Peanuts are one of the most popular nuts in the United States. The nuts originated in South America with archaeological evidence showing that people in Peru and Brazil may have been eating peanuts nearly 3,500 years ago. After Europeans discovered peanuts in Brazil, they helped to spread cultivation of this nut throughout North America and Asia.
Peanuts are an especially good source of healthful fats, protein, and fiber. They also contain plenty of potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, and B vitamins. Despite being high in calories, peanuts are nutrient-rich and low in carbohydrates.
The mixture of healthful fats, protein, and fiber in peanuts means they provide nutritional benefits and make a person feel fuller for longer. This makes peanuts a healthful, go-to snack when compared to chips, crackers, and other simple carbohydrate foods.
Here are the nutrition facts for 3.5 ounces of raw peanuts:
- Calories: 567
- Protein: 25.8 grams
- Carbs: 16.1 grams
- Sugar: 4.7 grams
- Fiber: 8.5 grams
- Fat: 49.2 grams
- Saturated: 6.28 grams
- Monounsaturated: 24.43 grams
- Polyunsaturated: 15.56 grams
- Omega-3: 0 grams
- Omega-6: 15.56 grams
- Trans: 0 gram
The fat content ranges from 44–56% and mainly consists of mono- and polyunsaturated fat, most of which is made up of oleic and linoleic acids.
Peanuts are a good source of protein. The protein content ranges from 22–30% of its total calories, making peanuts a great source of plant-based protein. The most abundant proteins in peanuts, arachin and conarachin, can be severely allergenic to some people, causing life-threatening reactions. Allergy to peanuts is estimated to affect approximately 1% of Americans. Peanut allergies are potentially life-threatening, and peanuts are sometimes considered the most severe allergen.People with this allergy should avoid all peanuts and peanut products.
Peanuts are low in carbs. The carb content is only about 13–16% of the total weight.
Being low in carbs and high in protein, fat, and fiber, peanuts have a very low glycemic index (GI), which is a measure of how quickly carbs enter your bloodstream after a meal. This makes them suitable for people with diabetes.
Peanuts are an excellent food for people with diabetes or a risk of diabetes. Because peanuts have a low glycemic index, they do not cause big spikes in blood sugar levels. Peanuts help control blood sugar levels because they are relatively low in carbohydrates but high in protein, fat, and fiber. Fiber slows down the digestive processes, allowing a steadier release of energy, and protein takes longer to break down than simple carbohydrates. Research suggests that eating peanut butter or peanuts may help women with obesity and a higher type 2 diabetes risk to manage their blood sugar levels.
Peanuts are an excellent source of various vitamins and minerals, including:
- Biotin. Peanuts are one of the richest dietary sources of biotin, which is important during pregnancy.
- Copper. A dietary trace mineral, copper is often low in the Western diet. Deficiency may have adverse effects on heart health.
- Niacin. Also known as vitamin B3, niacin has various important functions in your body. It has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease.
- Folate. Also known as vitamin B9 or folic acid, folate has many essential functions and is especially important during pregnancy.
- Manganese. A trace element, manganese is found in drinking water and most foods.
- Vitamin E. A powerful antioxidant, this vitamin is often found in high amounts in fatty foods.
- Thiamine. One of the B vitamins, thiamine is also known as vitamin B1. It helps your body’s cells convert carbs into energy and is essential for the function of your heart, muscles, and nervous system.
- Phosphorus. Peanuts are a good source of phosphorus, a mineral that plays an essential role in the growth and maintenance of body tissues.
- Magnesium. An essential dietary mineral with various important functions, sufficient magnesium intake is believed to protect against heart disease.
Peanuts contain various bioactive plant compounds and antioxidants. In fact, they’re as rich in antioxidants as many fruits. Most of the antioxidants are located in peanut skin, which is eaten only when peanuts are raw.
- p-Coumaric acid. This polyphenol is one of the main antioxidants in peanuts.
- Resveratrol. A powerful antioxidant that may reduce your risk of cancer and heart disease, resveratrol is most notably found in red wine.
- Isoflavones. A class of antioxidant polyphenols, isoflavones are associated with a variety of health effects (18Trusted Source).
- Phytic acid. Found in plant seeds, including nuts, phytic acid may impair the absorption of iron and zinc from peanuts and other foods eaten at the same time.
- Phytosterols. Peanut oil contains considerable amounts of phytosterols, which impair the absorption of cholesterol from your digestive tract.
Various factors make peanuts a weight-loss-friendly food:
- They reduce food intake by promoting fullness to a greater extent than other common snacks.
- The high content of protein and monounsaturated fat in peanuts may increase calorie burning.
- Peanuts are a source of insoluble dietary fiber, which is linked to a reduced risk of weight gain.
Two observational studies suggest that frequent peanut consumption may cut the risk of gallstones in both men and women. Gallstones affect approximately 10–25% of adults in the United States.
Peanuts can be contaminated with a species of mold (Aspergillus flavus) that produces aflatoxin. The risk of aflatoxin contamination depends on how peanuts are stored. The risk increases with warm and humid conditions, especially in the tropics. Aflatoxin contamination can be effectively prevented by properly drying peanuts after harvesting and keeping temperature and humidity low during storage.
Peanuts contain a number of antinutrients, which are substances that impair your absorption of nutrients and reduce nutritional value. Phytic acid (phytate) is found in all edible seeds, nuts, grains, and legumes. In peanuts, it ranges from 0.2–4.5%. Phytic acid reduces the availability of iron and zinc in peanuts, lowering their nutritional value slightly. Soaking and drying peanuts reduces the phytic acid considerably.
How to Buy
Raw peanuts are the most healthful variety. Peanut butter, unsweetened and without salt, is a great choice, offering a healthy nutritional profile and a range of health benefits.
People can also buy roasted, salted peanuts. Eating these types is okay in moderation, though consuming too much sodium is linked with high blood pressure and heart disease.
Where possible, choose raw peanuts with the skin attached. Peanut skins contain antioxidants. Antioxidants help protect the body’s cells from damage from free radicals. Producers usually remove the skins from most roasted or salted peanut.
When buying peanut butter look for per serving (2 tablespoons):
- Added sugar: No more than 3 grams
- Saturated fat: No more than 3 grams – avoid palm oils which are added to stop natural oils from separating
- Protein: At least 6 grams
- Calories: Nut butters get their calories from healthy fats – around 200 per serving
- Sodium: Nut butters have less sodium per serving
How to Store
For storage, use an airtight container and keep your peanuts in a dry, cool place, where they can keep for up to one year. Also, check for insect damage, and that the beans are whole and not cracked. Shelled peanuts can keep in the refrigerator for about three months and in the freezer for up to six months. Peanuts should not be chopped if you are going to store them. It is best to chop peanuts only right before eating or using in a recipe. Chopping increases the surface area, allows air to oxidize the oils, and encourages them to turn rancid more quickly. Unshelled peanuts should feel heavy for their size. They should not rattle, since a rattling sound suggests that the peanut kernels have lost moisture, allowing them more space to move around in the shell.
To preserve the quality of your nuts, keep them away from onions and other high-odor foods. They tend to take on the smell of things around them.
If your nuts start to taste stale, just toast them in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes. It’ll bring back their flavor.
Don’t expect it to improve rancid nuts. Once the oils in nuts go bad, there’s no fixing them.
How to Cook
Turning peanuts into a sauce is common across Latin American and Asian cultures. The natural richness and fat content of peanuts creates a silky and substantial texture to coat anything from spaghetti and udon to spiralized zucchini or daikon noodles.
Sauté precooked broccoli florets with onions and red bell peppers in a bit of oil, tamari, and minced garlic. Once coated, add chili flakes and peanuts and sauté for another minute. Serve over rice or noodles.
West African Peanut Soup is spicy, creamy, and nutritious. The base is sweet potatoes and peanut butter and the rest of the recipe calls for a handful of vegetables, such as carrot and onion, and spices including cayenne and ginger, which keep costs and calories low.
Fill celery with peanut butter and top with raisins.
Peanut Butter Cup Banana ‘Nice” Cream
- 4 medium bananas, cut into slices and frozen
- 1/4 cup coconut cream
- 1/4 cup almond milk
- 1/4-1/3 cup peanut butter (to taste)
- 10 mini peanut butter cups, chopped (located in bulk section) or chopped chocolate bar, Hu Kitchen makes chocolate bars with Hazelnut/ Almond butter
- In a food processor or high-speed blended, add frozen banana slices, coconut cream, and almond milk
- Blend until no chunks of banana remain, scraping down sides of process or blended as needed
- Add in 1/4-1/3 cup of peanut butter, blending until fully combined.
- Remove and stir in chopped peanut butter cups.
- Serve immediately for a soft-serve-like consistency.
- Alternatively, for more of an ice cream consistency, line a 8″ x 4″ loaf pan with parchment paper and fill with Peanut Butter ‘Nice” Cream and spread in an even layer. Leave in the freezer 1 – 1 1/2 hours. Remove from freezer and serve with an ice cream scoop.