Fateful Harvest


Fateful Harvest: The True Story of a Small Town, a Global Industry, and a Toxic Secret is a nonfiction book written by Duff Wilson, a reporter for the Seattle Times at the time. The book began as a series of newspaper reports, which made the issue a "national focus".The small town in question is Quincy, Washington. Fateful Harvest won book of the year honors from the press group Investigative Reports and Editors and for which Wilson was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize. It details Wilson's investigation into the recycling of fly ash, tire ash, flue dust, tailings, phosphoric acid from car factories, baghouse dust from recycling plants, zinc skimmings from galvanizing industries, and assorted other industrial byproducts with heavy metals such as arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, lead, titanium and other chemicals into plant fertilizer based on the agronomic benefits of their alkalinity (sold as lime) or their micronutrients zinc and manganese. Part of the reasoning behind this is that plants growing in alkaline soils do not uptake the metals as easily. The problem was brought to Wilson's attention in 1996 by a woman named Patty Martin, the mayor of a small rural town named Quincy, Washington, and together Wilson and a small group of farmers conducted the investigation. The issue of heavy metals in fertilizer is sometimes mistakenly confused with biosolids, although there may be some crossover.
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date of publication: 2001

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