Scientists Want To Mine Your Poop For Gold


Scientists Want To Mine Your Poop For Gold

BY 03.23.15

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SHUTTERSTOCK

When you think about it, humans are just really elaborate filtering machines. All sorts of stuff comes in to be broken down and processed by the body, after which the sh*t comes out. For most people, that’s where their vague interest in the subject ends. Crap is crap; it is universally understood to be worthless.

But that isn’t true at all, according to this Guardian article:

Sewage sludge contains traces of gold, silver and platinum at levels that would be seen as commercially viable by traditional prospectors. “The gold we found was at the level of a minimal mineral deposit,” said Kathleen Smith, of the US Geological Survey.

Smith and her colleagues argue that extracting metals from waste could also help limit the release of harmful metals, such as lead, into the environment in fertilisers and reduce the amount of toxic sewage that has to be buried or burnt.

“If you can get rid of some of the nuisance metals that currently limit how much of these biosolids we can use on fields and forests, and at the same time recover valuable metals and other elements, that’s a win-win,” she said.

A previous study, by Arizona State University, estimated that a city of 1 million inhabitants flushed about $13m (£8.7m) worth of precious metals down toilets and sewer drains each year.

So your butt may soon be the source of a new goldrush as investors jockey for the right to pan through your poop.

Scientists have estimated that an average ton of sewage sludge contains 0.4mg gold, 28mg of silver, 638mg copper and 49mg vanadium, which is used in cell phones so you know it’s hella valuable now. These amounts stayed relatively consistent across different sized cities and locales across the country. No word on if New Jersey poop yields are more potent due to the region’s ridiculous consumption of Goldschläger.

It’s been a great year for fecal sludge in the news – more and more processing plants are filtering out material useful for fertilizing crops. And Bill Gates recently drank the totally delicious output of a device that extracts clean water from human waste – great for water starved hellscapes where that kind of thing is necessary to survive. Or California in 10 years.

Source: The Guardian

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