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Human health related complaints have been received by the biosolids industry from residents around points of generation, composting facilities, and land application sites. These complaints have ranged in severity from odor and headache to death and have implicated pathogens and gases as potential causative agents. The application of scientific methods addressing causation is necessary to determine if these claims have any validity. This paper will introduce tools that can be used by facility owner/operators to assess causation in health claims involving potential exposure to biosolids. Causation criteria including Koch's postulates, the Bradford Hill criteria, and concepts from risk assessment will be introduced and applied. Case studies involving investigation of mortality and ammonia exposure claims associated with land application of Class B biosolids will be presented. The results of these case studies show that exposure to biosolids did not cause the health effects that were claimed.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2175/193864702785302122

Publication date: January 1, 2002

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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