Manure and Disease

Pandemics Ahead: Number 10 in a series looking at the link between animal protein and global health disasters.

Excerpt from Meat Climate Change: The 2nd Leading Cause of Global Warming by Moses Seenarine, (2016). Xpyr Press, 348 pages. ISBN: 0692641157. http://amzn.to/2yn7XrC

According to the US EPA, food animal waste has polluted in excess of 27,000 miles of rivers and contaminated groundwater in dozens of states. In addition, the EPA determined that nitrate is the most widespread agricultural contaminant in drinking water wells, and estimates that 4.5 million people are exposed to elevated nitrate levels from wells.(923)

Tens of thousands of miles of rivers in the US, Europe, and Asia are polluted each year. In the US, approximately 40% of fresh water is deemed unfit for drinking or recreational use because of contamination by dangerous microorganisms, pesticides, and fertilizers. Upwards of 40 diseases can be transferred to humans through manure. Each year, waterborne diseases cause 940,000 infections and 900 deaths. And, pathogenic Escherichia coli and related food-borne pathogens account for 76 million infections and 5,000 deaths.(924)

Also, using human waste as fertilizer might be making humans infertile. Eating flesh from animals grazed on land treated with commonly-used “human sewage sludge-derived fertilizer” might have serious implications for pregnant women and the future reproductive health of their unborn children. Chemical contaminants in human-based manure can mimic sex hormones and disrupt ovary development, with the potential for long-term damage to adult female fertility.(925)

After a severe rainstorm in 1993, an outbreak of cryptosporidium in Milwaukee's drinking water supply caused 100 deaths, sickened 430,000 people, and produced $37 million in lost wages and productivity. Runoff of chicken and hog waste from factory farms in Maryland and North Carolina may have spawned outbreaks of Pfiesteria piscicida, killing millions of fish and causing skin irritation, short-term memory loss, and other cognitive problems in local people.(926)

In 1995 an eight-acre pig-waste lagoon in North Carolina burst, spilling 25 million gallons (9.4m liters) of manure into the New River. The spill killed about 10 million fish and closed 364,000 acres (570 sq mi) of coastal wetlands. In 2011, an Illinois pig farm spilled 200,000 gallons (757,000 liters) of manure into a creek, killing over 110,000 fish.(927)

In February 2014, in Michigan’s Allegan County, a storm-water system failure at a cow milk farm with a 1-million-gallon (3.8m liters) manure lagoon spilled manure into nearby waterways, creating a visible plume five miles (8 km) long. In Canton, Minnesota, a wall on an above-ground manure storage tank broke in April 2013, spilling roughly 1 million gallons of manure.

In one of the largest cases of manure pollution, an estimated 15 million gallons (57m liters) of manure, water, and other matter spilled in 2010 into a slough that drains into the Snohomish River in Washington state, when a berm on a cow's milk farm’s manure lagoon failed. In 2005, 3 million gallons (11m liters) of manure spilled from a New York cow milk farm into a river, killing thousands of fish.

Chapter 25: WASTE POLLUTION, page 240

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