Ritter's follow-up article on a risky pilot project carried out by USDA's Rufus Chaney and researches from Johns Hopkins is factually inaccurate, misleading, and full of omissions.
Contrary to Michael Klag's claim, EPAs own documents and peer reviewed published research indicate that Class A sludge compost can pose considerable risk. Legally this material can contain arsenic, mercury, cadmium, and high amounts of lead, as well as disease causing pathogens and thousands of unregulated industrial chemicals. Tom Burke, who chaired the NAS panel, was fully aware of the research of David Lewis and others who had identified some of the risks associated with Class A sludge. He also knew that the NAS report addressed the issue of pathogen regrowth and metal tracking and the need for regulations for this material.
Using a high power rototiller to churn up the lead-contaminated soil, mixing it with Class A sludge compost, seeding it, and not preventing access to the site, subjected small children who ingested this mixture to additional health risks.
AP would have served readers better, had it fully supported the original story by John Heilprin and Kevin Vineys. Both reporters did in-depth research on sludge for a year. Their story WAS accurate. This one is not.