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Farming

Call to Stop Sewage Fertilisers

Published söndag 19 april 2009 kl 17.25
Is there something hiding in the soil?

Spreading sewage on Swedish fields and meadows could cause cancer. That’s the claim made by a large number of scientists, politicians, doctors and researchers in daily Dagens Nyheter Sunday. They say that the heavy metals, medicines and other chemicals in the sewage then build up in the soil and could be carcinogenic.

Sewage has been used for decades here in Sweden as fertiliser, and there is a certification programme for sewage farms that live up to certain safety requirements, and the treated sewage is then given free of charge to farmers.

But the system can’t guarantee that dangerous chemicals don’t get back into the food and water cycle, the writers claim.

However, Lena Söderberg, Head of Svensk Vatten, an industry organisation for water companies and sewage works, says that the sewage is harmless. She claims that the levels of cadmium put into the soil, for example, are too low to cause health risks.

Yet Sweden’s dairy farmers don’t want to use sewage to fertilise their fields. Anna-Karin Modin Edman from their industry organisation Svensk Mjölk, says that certain areas of the country, such as southern Skåne, already have fairly high levels of cadmium naturally in the soil, and any addition to that could cause problems.

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