A dairy farmer in the state of Maine is facing the financial ruin of his 100-year-old dairy farm because milk from his cows was proven to be tainted with harmful chemicals from a questionable source (Reuters, March 19, 2019). Subsequent testing showed the harmful chemicals are present in ground water and soil on the farm, and public health officials believe the contamination is associated with a fertilizer program that the farm participated in from the 1980s through the early 2000s. This government-sponsored program provided farms in Maine and other states with biosolids—the marketing term for sewage sludge from public waste facilities. These biosolids contain nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus, but also toxic substances that impact the environment and human health (see bioscience source.org and wte-ltd.co.uk). In recent decades, the use of recycled sludge as an inexpensive fertilizer has become a big business. However, years of use have led to the build up of toxic substances that are transferred from plants growing in the contaminated soil to cows feeding on them and to their milk—both of which are consumed by people.
It is sobering that with all the advances in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, humanity is still using human waste (“night soil”) as fertilizer. This is an area where the Bible demonstrates wisdom beyond its time. In the book of Deuteronomy—written some 3,500 years ago—God directed the Israelites to bury their waste (Deuteronomy 23:12–13). These burial points were to be “outside the camp” and away from areas humans frequented. Today, the wisdom and public health benefits of this ancient command are becoming obvious, and we see how breaking this ancient but important principle results in illness and suffering. To learn more about ancient biblical health laws that are still relevant and even “cutting-edge” today, be sure to read “Bible Health Laws.”