Wastewater Treatment Plants Spreading Prion Disease
Neurodegenerative disease is the fastest-growing cause of death in the world. Meanwhile, death rates from most major diseases are dropping. Why the divergence?
Unfortunately, a pathogen associated with neurodegenerative disease is spreading uncontrollably. Research suggests that food and water supplies around the world have been contaminated with an unstoppable form of protein known as a prion (PREE-on). Ignorance, negligence, fraud and corruption are fanning the flames today. We’re facing an environmental nightmare.
According to health officials, the epidemic will spread exponentially. The protein epidemic includes Alzheimer’s disease, mad cow disease, chronic wasting disease (deer) and many others. There is no species barrier. Some people die within weeks of symptoms, while others take years. There is no cure.
Please keep reading to find out why:
- Alzheimer’s disease is part of a spectrum disease known as prion disease, which also includes Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The spectrum also is known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE);
- Alzheimer’s disease is an infectious prion disease, which is often misdiagnosed and undiagnosed. Millions of diagnoses are being suppressed by physicians;
- The bodily fluids of those with prion disease are infectious;
- Wastewater treatment plants are contaminating our food and water supplies by spreading deadly prions via sewage sludge, biosolids and reclaimed wastewater. The risk assessments involving these facilities and their by-products were prepared before prions were discovered and characterized;
- Wildlife, sea mammals, livestock and people are contracting prion disease from mismanaged sewage;
- Caregivers are in harm’s way because of disease mismanagement;
- It’s time to reclassify sewage sludge, biosolids and reclaimed wastewater as infectious waste; and
- It’s time to defend our food, water and air from infectious waste by enforcing the Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act Of 2002 and similar laws around the world.
The Prion Epidemic
At least 50 million people around the world already have Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Millions of other cases are undiagnosed and misdiagnosed. Doctors have suppressed millions of other diagnoses. It’s an outrage. The epidemic is worse than the public knows.
Two groups of investigators at Rush University in Chicago independently analyzed the epidemic in a double-blind study. Both groups determined that Alzheimer’s-related mortality rates were several times higher than reflected by official figures.
With weak data in mind, the official death toll from Alzheimer’s disease in the U.S. alone still increased 68 percent between 2000 and 2010. Millions of additional cases went undiagnosed, misdiagnosed and misreported. The epidemic is expanding exponentially thanks to misinformation, fraud, acts of gross negligence and what appears to be deliberate attempts to put corporate profits over public health.
Pandora-like prions are out of the box and contaminating homes, communities and entire watersheds—including our food and water supplies. It’s time for government and industry to lead, follow or get out of the way of the truth and solutions.
Alzheimer’s disease is a member of an aggressive family of neurodegenerative diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE). The operative word is “transmissible.”
TSEs are caused by a deadly protein called a prion (PREE-on). As such, TSEs also are referred to as prion disease. The critical factor is that prions are unstoppable. The pathogen spreads through the bodily fluids and cell tissue of its victims. Blood, saliva, mucus, milk, urine and feces carry deadly prions from victims. All tissue is infectious just because of the contact with the contaminated blood.
TSEs also include Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, mad cow disease and chronic wasting disease in the deer family. Few, if any, mammals are immune. There is no cure.
Dr. Stanley Prusiner, an American neuroscientist from the University of California at San Francisco, earned a Nobel Prize in 1997 for discovering and characterizing deadly prions and prion disease. President Obama awarded Prusiner the National Medal of Science in 2010 to recognize the importance of his research. According to Prusiner, TSEs all are on the same disease spectrum, which is more accurately described as prion disease. He claims that all TSEs are caused by prions.
Prions are unstoppable and the pathogen spreads through the bodily fluids and cell tissue of its victims. Prions shed from humans are the most deadly mutation. They demand more respect than radiation. Infected surgical instruments, for example, are impossible to sterilize and hospitals throw them away. Prions are in the blood, saliva, urine, feces, mucus, and bodily tissue of its victims. Many factors are contributing to the epidemic. Prions are now the X factor. Industry and government are not accounting for them or regulating them. They are ignoring the threat completely, which violates the Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 in the United States. Other nations also are ignoring laws developed to protect food, air and water.
“There is now real evidence of the potential transmissibility of Alzheimer’s disease,” says Thomas Wiesniewski M.D. a prion and Alzheimer’s researcher at New York University School of Medicine. “In fact, this ability to transmit an abnormal conformation is probably a universal property of amyloid-forming proteins (prions).”
A new study published in the journal Nature renews concern about the transmissibility of Alzheimer’s disease between people.
A second study by the same scientist in early 2016 adds to the stack of evidence.
Prions also are linked to post-traumatic stress disorder in combat veterans and in the brain damage of athletes like football players who have suffered repeated concussions. It appears that head trauma also can trigger a cascade that converts healthy prions into deadly ones.
It doesn’t matter how the person acquires the disease, victims of prion disease are infectious long before they appear sick. These carriers are leading normal lives, while the disease incubates within. These walking victims are donating blood, eating at your favorite restaurant, going to your dentist and loading public sewer systems with every flush. Unfortunately, much of the sewage is dumped where it contaminates your food and your water.
The Prion Problem
When the U.S. government enacted the Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002, it included a provision to halt research on prions in all but two laboratories. It classified prions as select agents that pose an extreme risk to food, water and more. It was a step in the right direction.
Unfortunately, industry pressure convinced the Center For Disease Control to quietly take prions off the list of special agents two years ago. Keeping prions listed threatened to outlaw several multi-billion dollar industries. This reversal kept the floodgates open to the prion threat. Especially regarding sewage, agriculture and water reclamation industries.
The problem with prions is that they linger in the environment infinitely because they defy all attempts at sterilization and inactivation. Unlike viruses or bacteria, prions are not alive. Therefore, they can’t be killed. Victims contaminate cups, dishes, utensils, air and much more with just their saliva, mucus, cough or sneeze. Items exposed are hopelessly contaminated. Victims visit doctors and dentists every day. Some have surgery.
Unfortunately, surgical and dental instruments used on these victims are hopelessly contaminated. People have contracted prion disease from contaminated surgical instruments and hospitals have been successfully sued because of the negligence. Now, medical instruments are thrown away after being used on patients with known prion disease.
If it’s impossible to stop prions in an operating room, it’s impossible to stop them in the challenging environment of a high-volume wastewater treatment facility.
Prions spread uncontrollably and contaminate everything that they touch—much like radiation. Unlike radiation, however, prions do not deplete themselves. They migrate, mutate, multiply and kill with unparalleled efficiency. Each victim becomes an incubator and a distributor of the Pandora-like pathogen. The human prion is resistant to both heat and chemicals. It’s reported that prions released from people are up to a hundred thousand times more difficult to deactivate than prions from most animals.
Prion diseases are killing humans, wildlife and livestock around the world today. It’s been gaining momentum over the past century. So has mismanagement by government, some researchers and industry.
The prion problem is getting worse with rising populations, rising concentrations of people, intensive agriculture, reckless sewage disposal policies and other mismanaged pathways. As the epidemic strikes more people, the pathways for prion exposure explode and intensify. Reckless sewage disposal policies and practices alone are putting billions of innocent people in the crossfire right now. Entire watersheds are endangered thanks to a deadly pathogen that migrates, mutates and multiplies.
“The brain diseases caused by prions includes Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease), and other disorders known as frontotemporal dementias,” said Nobel Laureate Stanley Prusiner.
The TSE epidemic represents an environmental nightmare that threatens every mammal on Earth. Prion disease is a spectrum disease. Some prions can kill people within weeks of exhibiting clinical symptoms, while others take years. Other people may not fall victim to the disease, but they can carry the pathogen internally and externally after exposure. Pathway management and pathway aversion are critical if we hope to save mammals on land and at sea.
Doctors Mismanaging Diagnoses
Since prion disease is a spectrum disease, doctors can’t tell the difference between them. The only definitive diagnosis of a prion disease comes with an autopsy. Autopsies, however, are rarely conducted because of concerns over deadly contamination. A corpse with prion infection will contaminate all tools used by coroners and morticians. Meanwhile, fluids and liquefied organs from these bodies are dumped into the sewage system—destined for your wastewater treatment plant and then some poor farmer’s cornfield and dairy farm.
All doctors are guessing with each Alzheimer’s, CJD or Parkinson’s diagnosis based on the severity of the symptoms. Doctors are withholding millions of additional diagnoses from patients and their families. Regardless of the motive, this censorship puts an unbearable load on families both emotionally and financially. It also puts caregivers in harm’s way, while insulating healthcare companies from expensive patient treatment and care. If healthcare companies tackle the full brunt of the Alzheimer’s epidemic, it will bankrupt them within the next five years. They will continue outrunning claims as long as possible.
Since doctors are essentially guessing on each victim, Alzheimer’s diagnoses are wrong at least 20 percent of the time. Those cases typically are further up the prion-disease spectrum under the term Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). CJD is a more severe and extremely contagious mutation of prion disease.
Unfortunately for caregivers and family members, the protocol for patient care and caregiver safety is vastly different for Alzheimer’s patients versus CJD patients. This mismanagement puts many stakeholders at risk.
It’s reckless to try to distinguish between prion diseases on the spectrum. The medical community should treat people with Alzheimer’s disease as though they have CJD—as though they are highly contagious. Family members and other caregivers should be warned accordingly. Caregivers of those with dementia are six times more likely to contract prion disease than someone who is not a caregiver. Thanks to misinformation, community members also are being exposed to victims unknowingly.
Pissing In The Pool
Although there are many causes and pathways contributing to the prion disease epidemic, many pathways are being mismanaged, including sewage, biosolids and reclaimed wastewater. As stated earlier, blood, saliva, mucus, urine, feces, milk and cell tissue all carry infectious prions. These human discharges are flushed down toilets and sinks billions of times every day. We all have flushed away toxic or infectious waste that we would never throw on our garden or in our water well. The magic wand at the sewage treatment plant doesn’t phase most elements. It obviously doesn’t phase flesh-eating bacteria, either.
Sewage treatment plants can’t detect or stop prions in municipal waste streams. Despite this slightly important technical detail, we are dumping tons of infectious sewage on crops, gardens, pastures, golf courses, playgrounds and open spaces in our forests every day. Wind, rain and other natural dynamics put the sewage right back into our air, food and water supplies.
Spreading sewage sludge, biosolids, and reclaimed wastewater anywhere is a risk. Dumping them directly into our food and water is reckless, incompetent and criminal. We’re dumping prions into our lifecycle by the trainloads daily. Every nation is guilty.
To be precise, people with Alzheimer’s or Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease have used every sewage system in the world for years, which means that these systems all are hopelessly contaminated with prions. The problem intensifies with the addition of new prions and the exponential growth of existing ones in the system. Sewage from hospitals, nursing homes, slaughterhouses, morgues, mortuaries, veterinarians and other high-risk places enters the same sewage system.
The condensed sludge from all of these places is then dumped on our farms and ranches by the truckload. Plastic packaging and other large items are often visible in this waste, which means that treatment is extremely minimal. If the Pope waved his hand over the sewage, it would likely receive better treatment than what we see today. Nothing stops a prion, but you would hope that billions of dollars of wastewater treatment would at least take out pill bottles, syringes, needles and used prophylactics.
Thanks to more and more people dying from TSEs, sewage systems are more contaminated with prions than ever. Wastewater treatment systems are now prion incubators and distributors. Sewage sludge, wastewater reuse, biosolids and other sewage byproducts are biohazards causing bioterror. Thanks to questionable policymakers and profiteers, you are eating and drinking from your neighbor’s toilet–and the toilets at the local nursing home and hospital. We might as well dump sewage out of windows again.
Thanks to more and more sewage mismanagement, we’re dumping more deadly prions on farms and ranches than ever. The wastewater industry and their consultants have convinced agricultural operations around the world that sewage and biosolids are safe, effective and profitable for all involved.
As it turns out, today’s sewage isn’t safe. It isn’t an effective fertilizer. The business is profitable for everyone concerned—until the sickness and disease sets in for the farmers, workers and the consumers. Until the land is condemned for being hopelessly contaminated—making everyone downstream sick.
Exposing crops and livestock to prions is a very bad idea. Plants absorb prions from the soil along with water and nutrient uptake, which makes the prions bioavailable and infectious to humans, wildlife and livestock via another pathway. We might as well inject prions into our veins.
In addition to uptake from the soil and water, plants also are contaminated through contact with biosolids. Rain can splash the death dust up on stalks and leaves, which contaminates them from the outside. People, livestock and wildlife are exposed to neurological disease just by consuming food grown in sewage sludge. The more consumed, the greater the risk. Utensils used in the harvesting, processing, cooking and eating of these crops also are permanently contaminated.
Meat and milk from livestock raised on pastures treated with sewage sludge are at risk of carrying prions. Livestock that graze on these dumping grounds can pull prions up directly from the soil as part of their daily grazing. Grains and grasses grown in sewage sludge and fed to livestock are a risk. Such exposure can turn these animals into incubators and distributors of prions.
People and predators that consume infected animals are at risk. Prions mutate and become more resistant and deadly as they move up the food chain through consumption. Prions from people are the most deadly and the most difficult to stop.
Prions are not the only ingredient in sewage that threatens food and water safety. Heavy metals, endocrine disruptors, carcinogens, flesh-eating bacteria and other contaminants await innocent bystanders.
Once sewage is dumped on crops and grazing land, the damage isn’t done. Rain, irrigation and wind proceed to spread the prions and other contaminants throughout our communities, watersheds and into our oceans. Dumping tons of sewage from millions of people on farms and ranches spreads the prion pathogen far and wide. It’s a vicious case of Pandora’s lunchbox. We can avoid some of the prion risk by eating foods that are organic. Fruits and vegetables grown in sewage sludge cannot be legally labeled as certified organic.
Profits, Prions and Peons
Thanks to prions, sewage management has become more of a nightmare than ever. Getting it out of our food and water will not be easy. Europe alone spends more than 2.2 billion euros every year to get sewage sludge out of the cities. Unfortunately, about 60 percent of the crap is dumped on agriculture and landscaping around homes and offices. Disposing of it safely would cost billions more.
Finland and Sweden are top offenders in Europe regarding sewage dumped inappropriately. People there live and play near the Baltic Sea, which is one of the most polluted bodies of water on the planet. Sewage mismanagement generates most of that pollution. Sewage is polluting food and water supplies. As a result, Finland has the highest rate of Alzheimer’s deaths in the world. Sweden is third.
The United States produces more than eight million tons of dried sewage sludge every year. About half of it is dumped on crops, yards, parks, golf courses and beyond. The U.S. also has the fourth-highest death rate from Alzheimer’s disease in the world. Alzheimer’s rates in Washington State are off the charts. Like Finland, it has a long history of sewage mismanagement. It dumps sewage on crops, near rivers and upstream in forests. It drains back into the rivers, lakes, coves and bays where so many people live, play, eat and drink. Public servants are making questionable decisions regarding public health on many levels. Innocent people and animals are paying the price.
Wisconsin is another interesting case history. Almost every county in Wisconsin has helped dispose of sewage sludge. Now, the state’s deer herd is being decimated by chronic wasting disease–a prion disease. The epidemic is being mismanaged on many levels. Prion-laced sewage and sick deer pose a serious threat to Wisconsin’s multi-billion dollar dairy herd. Of course, people are exposed, too.
California produces a significant amount of the U.S. food supply. Los Angeles, for example, ships a huge amount of its sewage sludge where crops abound. Arizona also is a favorite dumping ground for California’s largest cities. Cropland near Yuma is a favorite target. Open space in the Phoenix metro area also has been targeted with California’s sewage sludge.
Thanks to sewage from California, Arizona also has one of the highest rates of Alzheimer’s disease in the U.S. Windstorms in the desert carry much more than sand and dust. Sewage sludge particles are part of every dust cloud that sweeps over Phoenix, Tucson and beyond. Then homeowners and their landscapers take turns blowing it back and forth across the street with dust blowers. As a result, the region is plagued by a mystery respiratory illness called valley fever. It’s wicked. The virus never leaves your body.
In India, 80 percent of surface water is contaminated and 80 percent of that contamination is sewage. Broken water pipes and flooding allow fecal sludge to mix with potable water. The effects of this contamination are immediately felt with the onset of the monsoons. When rains break out, so do reports of water-borne diseases like diarrhea and cholera.
India’s Central Pollution Control Board estimates that major cities and towns generate more than 38 billion liters of sewage every day, of which only 30 percent is collected and channeled away. Less than 20 percent of this sewage is treated due to limited capacity. The rest is emptied into streets, rivers, lakes and the ocean. Ironically, Hinduism is the religion of water.
These are just a few examples of sewage mismanagement and the threat to man and beast. It’s happening somewhere near you. Sewage mismanagement in agriculture is a direct assault on the landowners, investors, workers, livestock, neighbors downstream and downwind and consumers. Crops, poultry, dairy, meat and water all are vulnerable to the prion threat.
Canaries In A Coal Mine
Despite the unstoppable risk that sewage and prions represent to agriculture, testing for mad cow disease is very weak in most countries. In fact, the USDA reduced BSE testing in 2003 after finding the third mad cow. Out of about 35 million animals slaughtered annually, only 35,000 are tested for the deadly disease. Despite reduced testing, 22 cases have been confirmed in the U.S., so far. Another 20 cases have been confirmed in Canada. Japan, by contrast, tests every cow killed for consumption. Mad cow disease is not an isolated event. It’s impossible to contain. It’s just the tip of an iceberg.
The prion risk in dairy cattle is another issue. Most, if not all cases of mad cow disease in the U.S. and other countries have been dairy cattle, so such research seems logical. Beef cattle rarely live long enough to exhibit symptoms of mad cow disease. Dairy cattle often live much longer, which increases their exposure to prions and it gives them more time to become visibly sick. It also gives them more time and opportunity to contribute milk to the food supply.
Prions have been found in the milk of mammals, but no one has been allowed to test for prions in the milk of cattle. Given the enormous influence of the dairy industry, research on dairy milk, cheese and prions will probably never happen. Prion behavior observed in other species confirms the risk.
At the beginning of 1985, the world had never heard of mad cow disease. Public concern quickly gained momentum once the epidemic was exposed. At first, the U.K. government and industry insiders tried to cover up the threat. Politicians and regulators were more than willing to cast fate to the wind regarding public health.
The U.K. killed almost 200,000 cattle in an attempt to eradicate the disease. Thousands of carcasses were burned and others were buried in pits. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to eradicate prion disease because of the perpetual environmental pathways. Cases continue to arise, but testing has been rendered ineffective at best. Ireland just confirmed a new case of the disease in June 2015. Ireland was ground zero during the first mad cow crisis 30 years ago.
In the past, most infected cattle got the disease from eating feed made from the ground up blood, fat and bones of dead cattle. Once they fed a mad cow back to these vegetarian herds, the contagion spread like wildfire. Diet is a proven source of exposure to prion disease. Food and water contaminated by sewage may have contributed to that initial outbreak in 1985.
Unfortunately, no one knows exactly how many infected cattle were slaughtered and consumed by innocent families. That’s one of the weaknesses of the global food production systems. That’s one of the reasons that it’s vital to keep prions out of agriculture.
Scientific Research Ignored
Studies confirm that people and animals dying of prion disease contaminate the environment around them with prions. Claudio Soto, PhD, professor of neurology at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston, and his colleagues recently found human prions in urine. Soto also confirmed that plants uptake prions and are infectious and deadly to those who consume such plants. Therefore, humans, wildlife and livestock are vulnerable to prion disease via plants grown on land treated with sewage sludge and reclaimed sewage water.
Prion researcher Dr. Joel Pedersen, from the University of Wisconsin, found that prions become 680 times more infectious in certain soils. Pedersen also found that sewage treatment does not inactivate prions. Therefore, prions are lethal, mutating, migrating and multiplying everywhere sewage is dumped.
“Our results suggest that if prions enter municipal wastewater treatment systems, most of the agent would bond to sludge, survive anaerobic digestion, and be present in treated biosolids,” Pedersen said. “Land application of biosolids containing prions represents a route for their unintentional introduction into the environment. Our results emphasize the importance of keeping prions out of municipal wastewater treatment systems. Prions could end up in sewage treatment plants via slaughterhouses, hospitals, dental offices and mortuaries just to name a few of the pathways. The disposal of sludge represents the greatest risk of spreading prion contamination in the environment. Plus, we know that sewage sludge pathogens, pharmaceutical residue and chemical pollutants are taken up by plants and vegetables.”
Over the past 30 years, there has been a great deal of research to better understand the fate of toxins and pathogens in biosolids when applied to crops and grazing land. Much of that research is taking place today in an open laboratory, on innocent citizens in thousands of communities around the world. Unfortunately, they aren’t willing participants.
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