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Johns Hopkins Study Identifies Potentially Hazardous Chemicals in Biosolids

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University published a study in Environmental Science & Technology that lists potentially hazardous organic chemicals commonly found in biosolids. The sludgy biosolids that remain after wastewater treatment are used in the manufacture of some fertilizers, but researchers warn that perhaps some of the chemicals they contain should be regulated. This study of biosolids samples from 12 cities found traces of pharmaceuticals, industrial chemicals, and a variety of fragrances. Researchers identified 92 compounds that were present in 80% or more of the samples. The research team will continue their investigations to explore whether the concentrations of these chemicals are great enough to pose a risk to workers exposed to them and whether foods grown in soils amended with biosolids contain concerning amounts of the chemicals.