Holy Shit by Gene Logsdon

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WARNING! Sewage sludge is toxic. Food should not be grown in "biosolids." Join the Food Rights Network.

Holy Shit by Gene Logsdon is a book promoting the use of manure, including human excrement, to grow food and other crops. It was published by Chelsea Green in 2010.[1] Gene Logsdon is an author and farmer who has long been a promoter and defender of growing food in toxic sewage sludge, or biosolids, the preferred term of the sewage sludge industry, but his view in Holy Shit appears to be more nuanced:

"It is possible that, one day, sludge from a sewage treatment plant, if properly handled, might make a good safe fertilizer. But we haven't figured out a foolproof way to handle it properly, at least not yet. It's one thing to stress the relative safety of appropriately composted humanure on the homestead level. After all, we control what substances we put (and don't put) into our own toilets. Toxins in, toxins out. Caveat craptor. But dealing with municipal septic waste is an entirely different thing. We may think we know our neighbors pretty well, but how do we know whether they're disposing of leftover paint thinner or past-their-expiration-date pills down the sink or toilet? And what about industrial chemicals that may be entering the same common waste stream?"[2]

Logsdon's boosterism for growing food in sewage sludge is described on page 121 of is the book Toxic Sludge Is Good For You written by John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton in 1995. The authors write: "As horror stories like these [about sludge poisonings of people and animals] have begun to leak out, advocates of sludge farming are responding. 'There is no doubt, among sludge scientists in general, that their long and arduous efforts to convince society of the safety of sludge have been set back a few years,' wrote Gene Logsdon in BioCycle magazine. 'One good effect ... is that it should become easier ... to get funds to mount education programs.' Logsdon advocated 'funding a road show' starring scientist-advocates like Terry Logan 'and a star-studded supporting cast of waste-water treatment plant operators. Put another way, this is a job for a creative advertising agency. If the nuclear industry can convince the public that nuclear energy means clear air, then improving the image of sludge would be, pardon the pun, a piece of cake.' [3]

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  1. Chelsea Green website accessed June 24, 2010.
  2. Gene Logsdon, Holy Shit (White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing Company), 2010, p. 176.
  3. [1] Click on this link and scroll down to a PDF containing this chapter of Toxic Sludge Is Good for You!
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