Dioxin formation in sewage sludge calls land spreading into question

Studies by Swedish researchers have pointed to the possible formation of dioxins in sewage sludge by biological or chemical routes. The findings may increase pressures to curb discharges of organochlorines to sewer and also cast doubt on the use of sewage sludge as a fertiliser - particularly when it is spread on land used to raise livestock.

The presence of dioxins in sewage sludge has been known for some time, but has generally been assumed to be due to trade discharges. But experiments by a group at the University of Ume\'e5 led by Professor Cristoffer Rappe, a leading dioxin researcher, suggest that they are formed from organochlorines present in sewage by biological processes.

In 1989, the Department of the Environment (DoE) issued a report which confirmed that traces of

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