Pin It

Letters to the editor 

Yikes! I've just read The Inlander's "Best of..." edition (3/29). Should I laugh or cry, that The Inlander's readers consider a hockey game the best place to propose? Romance has been truly iced, it seems. Let's hope our frequent detractors on the West Side don't get hold of this issue... we'll never hear the end of it. Any comments, ladies?

ED: You may be even more horrified to learn that it was The Inlander's editors (as it was labeled "Editor's Choice") not the readers, who picked that icy place of proposal.

Bruce Market

Spokane, Wash.

Mr. Fretwell's letter of March 29, 2001, was a classic case of killing the messenger in order to distract from the message -- in this case the disposal of hazardous waste as fertilizer. The Inlander is not guilty of bad journalism, but rather of educating the public about an event by interviewing the guest speaker (me).

No, the issue is with the report itself. This is an issue that the industry would prefer not to get any public attention. After all, if you were disposing of hazardous waste in a commercial product like fertilizer that's used on our food supply, would you want the public to know?

Essentially, industry can dispose of any waste that contains fertilizing, micronutrient, or soil amending properties as fertilizer. There is no requirement to prove safety or crop benefit. Sources of waste-derived "fertilizers" currently sold in Washington state include incinerated tire ash, nuclear fuel and mining wastes, and waste from pulp and paper production. These wastes may contain levels of lead, arsenic, mercury, cadmium and other heavy metals in concentrations that characterize them as hazardous.

Hazardous means that these wastes "pose a substantial present or potential hazard to human health or the environment," and under most regulatory schemes would be required to be disposed of in a lined, secure and monitored hazardous waste landfill. But in this situation where they are recycled for their soil-amending qualities, the exact same hazardous waste can be disposed of as "fertilizer."

Under the landfill scenario there is a hefty disposal cost, while under the fertilizer scenario you might make a little money. If you were industry and the choice were yours, which would you choose?

These "fertilizers" may also contain dioxins and other chemicals. Originally the law required that the label identify whether it was made from hazardous waste, but the industry worked to have that provision removed.

It wasn't until after the Seattle Times exposed this practice that EPA initiated a risk assessment. The assessment identified several major uncertainties including "soil-to-plant uptake," and said "significant uncertainties and unknowns [exist] regarding the estimation of lifetime cancer risks in children." But then that is to be expected. After all, the EPA doesn't even know the "market share of these products in the total fertilizer market."

And not all is well with the soils in our state as Mr. Fretwell would have you believe. The Department of Ecology's review of Washington soils found that "cadmium and zinc concentrations show small but statistically significant increases in agricultural fields over background sites" and that "the increased agricultural cadmium levels warrant monitoring over a period of time to determine their rate of increase and to ensure that the levels do not become a concern."

With birth defects, childhood asthma, cancer, and learning disabilities on an alarming rise since 1980, Mr. Fretwell's "yawner of a story" is of grave concern to those of us with children. These increases are not due to better testing as the industry would have you believe, they are a fact. Even the EPA acknowledges the "probable cause" of the rise in childhood health problems is "environmental toxins," yet allows this method of hazardous waste disposal to potentially place our food, air and water at risk.

Patricia Anne Martin

Safe Food and Fertilizers

Quincy, Wash.

I thoroughly enjoyed the March 29 issue of The Inlander, but was disappointed by a couple of the mistakes in the snippet on the future of Gorge Park.

I am a graduate student at WSU writing a thesis on the effects the Olmsted brothers had on the two parks they designed and had completed under their direction. These two parks are Liberty Park and Cannon Hill. Corbin Park was also designed by the Olmsted brothers, but was not completed according to their plan.

The two corrections that should be passed on to readers of The Inlander are:

The correct spelling is Olmsted, not Olmstead. I would have thought that if there was a question of doubt, The Inlander would have done its research. Nancy Compau, at the Downtown Library is a great resource for answering questions regarding Spokane's past.

And, the Olmsted brothers did not design Manito Park. Manito Park was already a park by the time the Olmsted brothers came to Spokane. They had minor suggestions for the Park Board, but they did not have any say in its original design.

Teyadora Kuhle

Spokane, Wash.

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • OK, Hold Your Nose
  • OK, Hold Your Nose

    Everything you need to know before Election Day
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • Base of Support
  • Base of Support

    Polling local leaders and opinion-makers about presidential politics
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • The Messenger
  • The Messenger

    Local leaders weigh in on how Donald Trump's campaign has impacted racism in America
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri
Fiesta Spokane: Hispanic Heritage Festival

Fiesta Spokane: Hispanic Heritage Festival @ Downtown Spokane

Sat., Sept. 24, 12-8 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by n/a

  • Iron Upgrade
  • Iron Upgrade

    The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

    A festival showing GLBT from all angles
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • Get Out the Vote
  • Get Out the Vote

    With all the uncertainty in the world these days, hot wings and cold beer are two things we can get behind
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • Murrow's Nightmare

    Debate moderators need to be much more than an onstage prop to make our democracy work
    • Sep 15, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

election 2016

trail mix


green zone


Readers also liked…

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation