(BM = bowel movement) xD so, anywho, i understand the inherent issues with using human BM around things we are going to be eating, however i have to wonder about circumstance regarding its use, misuse and potential or lack of dangers.
Nightsoil, from what i gather, nightsoil tended to be sewage, human sewage, left in cesspools that people came and picked up at night. Maybe save japan where there was basically buckets full of BM that people would pick up and sometimes pay for 'higher grade' BM. Common practice before the US occupation/armed threat. In china however, they never dropped the oldworld european ways, of just pumping raw sewage onto growing fields.
whats my point, i can definitely see the issues related to infectious disease and using BM on said food. However, there are some key differences, in rural china and the old world, most of the peasant ate horrible diets and lived in imposed squalor. With these types of conditions, being sickly is almost a guarantee, therefore, said BM would also pass along all these great things. This also doesn't take into account methods. Raw sewage in a cesspool is not the same thing as having a BM in a bucket and carrying it to a field. That cesspool is the perfect environment for any and all of the creatures that like to cause illness. A healthy person in even a decent environment eating a sound diet should not have a digestive tract full of all kinds of craziness. These things don't come out of know where, back when, living in those conditions, illness was a common thing.
However, i really wanted to make the distinction between nightsoil from a cesspool and straight out of a person, these are two entirely things and two wholly different environments. So, as far as 'safety' is concerned, i think some regulatory bodies overblow(go figure) certain figures and ideals.
You may wish to separate collection of solid waste from collection of urine. Urine is generally free of many of the harmful organisms that solid waste will likely contain. If you store urine in containers that can allow evaporation you can concentrate the urine. This will produce a fluid rich in urea a nice source of nitrogen. The solid material can also be dried and heated to destroy the harmful organisms.
no, i get that, thats not my point. I haven't come across any information(yet, i should probably look for some clinical trials), alluding to the idea that all BM is disease ridden(spontaneous generation?? lol).
So, is there really a need for a year long compost session? are the dangers that evident or are they just overblown? i guess i should say, someone eating a really clean diet, mostly vegetarian(digestive tract health), no pharmaceuticals, overall healthy, not carrying infectious disease. All these things met, i cannot understand why there would be much a difference from any other animal vs our own BM. Yes, there is a barrier from different species not crossing over pathogens, but, all considered, a healthy individual shouldn't be excreting anything harmful to begin with.(a cesspool breed various pathogens, 'nightsoil' from these areas will of course harbor/carry these things). This also is considering conditions of the soil, how 'alive' is it, where is the location, what type of conditions will it be in, how much competition from other organism, and how long to harvest.
Your basic premise - a healthy person with a good diet, may be rarer than you are assuming. Disease and parasites in humans are rife, particularly in the first world where said humans dine on all manner of artificial and processed rubbish. Its not so much that the species are harbingers of illness but that the species chooses to adopt a lifestyle that encourages it. So in that respect no I dont think the dangers or requirements of sewerage treatment are overblown at all. Humans arent a species that reliably live according to its nature and therefore don't cultivate within themselves the natural level of disease resistance tht would otherwise be present like undomesticated animals do. We still mostly live in conditions that promote disease which is evdent in our society everywhere. I dont buy food from China for the very reason you cite, their practice of dumping raw sewerage on fields and feeding pigs with it.
When I worked with an NGO in Bangladesh in the '80's I actively promoted the use of humanurecompost for gardens based on Chinese research to good results in a country hard up for soil fertility, organic matter, and some form of organized disposal of humanure (it was customary to squat wherever the urge overtakes, in any out of the way place, often directly into surface water). A few basic principles came to light:
1. Pathogens (unlike chemicals) do not translocate from soil up into and through the vascular system of a plant. Splash of soil from rainwater is the primary method of contamination of edible plant material. Thus, tall plants such as fruittrees, trellised vine crops, and upright plants are the safest, while ground-hugging and root crops are the most vulnerable.
2. Most greens and root crops outside the First World are cooked, usually quite thoroughly by our standards. This is another check on contamination.
3. The primary means of transmission of fecal-oral microbes are not through food crops....but rather through contaminated water, contaminated hands, and flies, which land on humanure and then fly over onto food. Another means common in dry climates or climates with a dry season is windborne dust, which contains humanure in cultures where 'roadside squatting" is common.
Therefore, either hot or long composting, (together with sequestration from flies and wind through screening or mulch) or direct burial in gardens, especially under long-term perennial plants, are actually safer than many common Third World methods of handling humanure, including common pit latrines (unless these are adequately protected from flies).