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The potential health impacts and risks of utilising biosolids in a timber plantation

Levitan, J., Nair, J., Ho, G.ORCID: 0000-0001-9190-8812, Penney, N. and Dumbrell, I. (2009) The potential health impacts and risks of utilising biosolids in a timber plantation. In: Nair, J., Furedy, C., Hoysala, C. and Doelle, H., (eds.) Technologies and Management for Sustainable Biosystems. Nova Science Publisher, New York, pp. 183-194.

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During land application of biosolids in forestry, the management of the plantations following biosolids application and the harvesting of the timber, there is a potential for pathogen contamination. When using biosolids cake, the preferred method for land application is to use a 'manure spreader' which throws the biosolids out into the air and allowing it to scatter over the ground. Applications of liquid biosolids can become aerosolised when sprayed into the air, providing a near perfect medium for pathogens to be introduced into the air and be transported via the wind However with biosolids cake the likelihood of the pathogens becoming aerosolised is minimised and therefore a lower pathogen risk is observed. Once the biosolids have been applied to the land, interactions with soil biota can result in limited growth of pathogens, which can reduce the risk. Studies have shown that residents living in the vicinity of land applied with biosolids and workers exposed to biosolids on a daily basis have reported coughing, sore throats, headaches and sinus effects. These findings indicate that there is a health risk associated with the use of biosolids and this review of the literature has shown that there are a number of significant points during the process of utilising biosolids that require some research into assessing the risks that accompany each point and action.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Environmental Technology Centre
Publisher: Nova Science Publisher
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