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Sludged Town and Sick Kids

August 25, 2008

Hello, I am the mother of 3 kids and we moved to Franklin County, Pa in 2005, it was soon after the move there that our kids health changed and went down hill right before our eyes. It was virus after virus and infection after infection. The started to show signs of neurological issues, sensory sensitivities, that were not there before the move but later found out to be environmental exposure. The local physician had a diagnosis for every symptoms and loaded them up with antibiotics.

They were 1, 2 and 3 years old when we moved to the area and their small bodies handle more illnesses than we had ever imagined due to the fact we did everything to try and keep them healthy. We are in the health care profession and were baffled by the deficits that started and the illnesses, we had no idea what was happening to our children. I was constantly taking them to the physicians and only took them after fevers or symptoms would not break after days to a week. If I were to take them every time they were sick we would have lived there because they were always sick as well as my husband and I.

We left Greencastle, Pa the last week of March in 2008 because a researcher that was made aware of the sewage sludge used in that area told us to not bathe the children in the water since we were on a well. We had already stopped drinking it months before due to speculation it was contaminated. They did show signs of improvement as my daughter stopped vomiting was one of them after switching to bottled water.

I have two children with non specific cause for chronic and acute scattered GI inflammation without a cause at this time. They were only 3, and 5 when diagnosed with this and are getting ready to go through another endo and colonoscopy soon. They are children and it should not have to be like this. Then there was the nose bleeds that soaked beach towels and pillow cases...I told the family physician and she acted as if every child gets nose bleeds. I then took a picture of my son soaking a pillow case in the middle of the night and made an appointment with the ENT and as soon as he saw the picture he cauterized his nose to stop the bleeding.

Do you know what it feels like to drive your child to preschool and he have worries the whole ride there and during the day whether or not his nose is going to bleed and cause him embarrassment? Do you know what it feels like to drive you 3 year old daughter to preschool and her wonder if her belly is going to distend and have a belly ache when I am not there. Do you know what it feels like to have your 5 year old son come home from kindergarten and not remember things or wonder why he is falling all the time? Kids have a lot of the normal anxiety as they grow they do not deserve to have these extra worries they don't have answers to and can not control.

Most adults can not handle anxiety well and then we have these small children in contaminated towns having to handle a lot more anxiety because there is a lot more to worry about because of the contamination impacting their growing bodies. Since we moved the nose bleeds stopped in all the children and the "muscle aches" that were diagnosed as growing pains are not a daily complaint or weekly. My story is a bit more complex because we have many factors that could have been affecting the children. We lived by a golf course and 2 miles from an active landfill, and our development is built on an old farm that is speculated to have used sludge before it was developed as well as the soil to develop the golf course greens. It was heard that the golf course uses sewage to fertilize, but trying to find that out from DEP anything is an impossible task. Then there is a farm that sits next to the development that is speculated to uses sewage. Not to mention the Class B sludge farm that sits 1 mile away that causes neighbors to shut windows due to the smell and kids to gag at the stink if it when application is done.Is this where you would want to live?

My kids were not the only one's with nose bleeds and other symptoms. The problem is there are no local physicians trained in this environmental exposure, and it took our family to an out of state university hospital, Cornell, to help with the direction and awakening. The local family physician had never heard of biosolids and refused to look at the information possibly because the EPA says, "its safe." Then a pediatric GI physician at UMM in Baltimore had never heard of biosolids and when I gave her the newspaper on the Baltimore sludge in poor neighborhoods incident she had never even heard of the case. SHE IS A PEDIATRIC GI physician in Baltimore, how is this possible? Belly aches are related to bacteria and parasites found in sewage sludge, how can any physician help children if they are not educated about this toxic waste being spread by people's water supplies and soil. As our children are improving and testing is still underway, we have seen such an incredible improvement in the children as we left that town. The heavy metals that have came back elevated and some in toxicity levels as well as chemical exposure labs have made us disgusted at the EPA and DEP who we always assume protects our children. Then there are parasites found.....where did those come from considering we have never traveled the kids oversees to have such an infection?

All I can say is our whole family was affected and we have lab test to prove environmental exposure, but does that matter to the people that are passing the laws to spread the waste and allows water wells to be surrounded by chemicals and landfill and sewage? Before the next application please picture a small child laying on a sofa not wanting to go out and play because her belly hurts so bad. Then picture her and her siblings take 4-5 baths a day to ease muscle pain and belly aches to then be taken to their family physician to be asked, "Are they still playing?" Given that they were, they were assumed to be fine.

It took endoscopies and colonoscopies to find out what was inside them to be causing their belly pain. It took a physician to notice the chemical and heavy metal exposure symptoms to send us in the right direction to realize our kids were being contaminated. What if the child does not end up with the right physician like many others in that area who have never pursued it like we have? What if they tried to tell their physician and they never heard of sludge and trusted the EPA or acted like "its just a virus"? What if it was too late and this was your child? As you can see, I am mad and I have every right to be because I trusted that everyone was doing their jobs and our water supply and air was protected. We were on a well and surrounded by waste, how could that be safe for any child or adult? If you think it is so safe then I offer you to live there for 2.5 years and drink the untreated well water.

Our kids are going to be okay, we will make sure of that. We found a new family physician that is supportive and understands this whole situation. The physicians that are helping our children are knowledgeable in the area of heavy metal contamination as well as parasites and chemicals so the kids will continue to get the care they need. No, we can not reverse the damage that is already done neurologically but we will do everything we can to rebuild their immune systems and give them the best future health that God intended for them to have.

The sad part in all this is parents take their children to their family physician in hopes to make their child better, they depend on them. Yet, ours like many are uneducated in environmental issues and act as if they are okay because they are still playing. So the kids can go years without the right referral or care....how is this could health care in the USA. Are physicians uneducated in environmental issues like sewage sludge on purpose so this stuff can go undiagnosed? If you would not allow your child, your grandchild to drink from a well that is untreated in a town with all the environmental issues and sewage sludge then why would you allow another child?

G., Mother of Three, Greencastle, PA