I know the headline is a bit funny so I’ll go straight at it–
There Is Gold In Your Crap! or your poop… or your… You get what I mean.
And scientists are establishing that a million worth of dollars in form of metals can be harvested in human poop.
According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), there is a million dollar worth of gold hidden in a human feces among with a variety of metals and minerals which include platinum, copper and silver as well as rare elements such as palladium and vanadium that are used in electronics and alloys.
How did those minerals arrived there?
Well, besides from the food we eat, the minerals find their way to the human system, specifically in human cells through the water we drink, beauty products, detergents and other products. Also, according to John Emsley’s technical treatise The Elements Third Edition which was published by the Clarendon Press, Oxford in 1998, the average person’s body weighing 70 kilograms contains a total mass of 0.2 milligrams of gold. So the amount of gold in human feces are in the “level of minimal mineral deposit” as proved by the USGS scientists– and take note that in mining, if a geologist will find a rock containing such level, he will label the area as prospect for mining.
But yes! Mining poop is indeed funny.
And while it sounds totally crazy, the scientists believed that it could potentially work.
First, let us review how human waste gets treated…
- First human feces gets flushed from the toilet.
- Then human feces and the water it contains is separately treated through various physical, biological and chemical treatment processes.
- So poop is turned into biosolids while water is recycled.
- Then finally, most of the biosolids ends up as landfills, fertilizer or wastefully incinerated.
Now, the big Question is:
What if we mine those biosolids?
For sure we could commercially extract gold and other minerals from it.
In a recent Environmental Science & Technology paper (2015, DOI: 10.1021/es505329q), another research group also studies this poop issue. They calculated that the fecal waste coming from 1 million American toilet contains as much as $13 million worth of precious metals. $13 million dollars is a huge amount of money that could help sustain local economies.
So the next time a person will tell you that you are a piece of crap or piece of shit, don’t feel bad about it– crap or shit contains gold and expensive metals. You must be expensive.
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