[X] CLOSEMAIN MENU

  • Archives

  • Categories

    • ALS (2)
    • Announcements (586)
    • Antibiotic Resistance (7)
    • Aquaculture (23)
    • Aquatic Organisms (8)
    • Beneficials (28)
    • Biodiversity (37)
    • Biofuels (6)
    • Biological Control (15)
    • Biomonitoring (28)
    • Birds (4)
    • btomsfiolone (1)
    • Canada (10)
    • Cannabis (22)
    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (4)
    • Children (19)
    • Children/Schools (219)
    • Climate Change (34)
    • contamination (78)
    • Environmental Justice (112)
    • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (113)
    • Events (82)
    • Farm Bill (10)
    • Farmworkers (121)
    • Fertilizer (2)
    • Fracking (3)
    • Fungicides (2)
    • Goats (1)
    • Golf (11)
    • Health care (32)
    • Holidays (24)
    • Household Use (1)
    • Integrated and Organic Pest Management (58)
    • International (288)
    • Invasive Species (29)
    • Label Claims (47)
    • Lawns/Landscapes (190)
    • Litigation (293)
    • Microbiata (5)
    • Microbiome (6)
    • Nanosilver (1)
    • Nanotechnology (53)
    • National Politics (386)
    • Pesticide Drift (132)
    • Pesticide Regulation (685)
    • Pesticide Residues (149)
    • Pets (18)
    • Preemption (14)
    • Resistance (80)
    • Rodenticide (22)
    • Synthetic Pyrethroids (1)
    • Take Action (419)
    • Toxic Waste (1)
    • Uncategorized (395)
    • Wildlife/Endangered Sp. (332)
    • Wood Preservatives (22)
  • Most Viewed Posts

Daily News Blog

10
Jan

Take Action: Stop Antibiotic Use in Citrus Production, Leading to Life-Threatening Illness

(Beyond Pesticides, January 10, 2019) The Trump administration is opening the floodgates to allow widespread use of antibiotics in citrus (grapefruits, oranges and tangerines) production, expanding on an emergency use decision it made in 2017. The public has an opportunity to comment on the widespread use of streptomycin by January 19, 2019. You can comment on the federal government’s public comment page (regulations.gov) by leaving a comment opposing any additional use of antibiotics in food production during a national and international crisis of deadly disease resistance to antibiotics. You can copy Beyond Pesticides’ prepared comment below and add your own concerns. Strikingly, the decision allows for up to 480,000 acres of citrus trees in Florida to be treated with more than 650,000 pounds of streptomycin per year, and 23,000 citrus acres in California will likely be treated annually.

The two approved antibacterial chemicals to be used as a pesticide in citrus production are streptomycin and oxytetracycline. These uses were permitted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under an emergency exemption in May, 2017, allowing residues of antibiotics in Florida orange juice, for the antibiotics streptomycin and oxytetracycline –allowing their use for a bacterial disease, citrus greening (Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas) bacterium that causes Huanglongbing), in Florida citrus crops through December of 2019, and further exacerbating bacterial resistance. The World Health Organization has called bacterial resistance “one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today.” The agency announced March 15, “EPA is issuing these tolerances without notice and opportunity for public comment as provided in FFDCA section 408(l)(6).” EPA states “time-limited tolerances are established for residues of streptomycin in or on fruit, citrus, group 10-10, at 2 ppm, and the dried pulp of these commodities at 6 ppm.” For oxytetracycline, EPA is allowing residues” in or on all commodities of fruit, citrus, group 10-10, at 0.4 ppm.” [See below; organic standards do not allow antibiotic use.]

Now, EPA is moving forward with a permanent allowance of these chemicals. While the comment period is closed on oxytetracycline, public comments on streptomycin are still open until January 19, 2019.

Antibiotic resistance is a real and urgent public health threat and represents an existential threat to modern civilization.  Antibiotic resistance kills over 23,000 people each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In addition to the CDC, the World Health Organization has cited this escalating problem as among the biggest public health challenges of our time.

“By 2050, resistance is estimated to add 10 million annual deaths globally with a cumulative cost to the world economy of US$100 trillion,” said Jack Heinemann, PhD, University Canterbury’s School of Biological Sciences.

Antibiotics have a history of use in fruit production, but never at the scale that is being allowed by the Trump EPA. Advocates already working towards pesticide reform can add another reason for policymakers to shift away from toxic pesticides: stopping antibiotic resistance.

Beyond Pesticides, with other organizations, led a successful effort to remove antibiotics from organic apple and pear production because of their contribution to antibiotic resistance, and the availability of alternative practices and inputs.

Both the active and inert ingredients in common herbicides advance antibiotic resistance. Learn more about the history of Resistance and Antibiotics by visiting Beyond Pesticides’ Antimicrobials and Antibacterials program page.  Pose the question to policy makers: Will we now see an “Antibiotics rebellion”?

As bacteria becomes resistant to the most commonly prescribed antibiotics, it results in longer-lasting infections, higher medical expenses, the need for more costly or hazardous medications, and the inability to treat life-threatening infections. The development and spread of antibiotic resistance is the inevitable effect of antibiotic use. Bacteria evolve quickly, and antibiotics provide strong selection pressure for those strains with genes for resistance. The principal traditional antibiotics used in plant agriculture to fight disease are both important for fighting human disease. Tetracycline is used for many common infections of the respiratory tract, sinuses, middle ear, and urinary tract, as well as for anthrax, plague, cholera, and Legionnaire’s disease, though it is used less frequently because of resistance. Streptomycin is used for tuberculosis, tularemia, plague, bacterial endocarditis, brucellosis, and other diseases, but its usefulness is limited by widespread resistance (U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2006).

It may not be widely appreciated that use of antibiotics on fruit trees can contribute to resistance to the antibiotic in human pathogens. The human pathogenic organisms themselves do not need to be sprayed by the antibiotic because movement of genes in bacteria is not solely “vertical,” that is from parent to progeny—but can be “horizontal”— from one*/ bacterial species to another. So, a pool of resistant soil bacteria or commensal gut bacteria can provide the genetic material for resistance in human pathogens. The basic mechanism is as follows. If bacteria on the plants and in the soil are sprayed with an antibiotic, those with genes for resistance to the chemical increase compared to those susceptible to the antibiotic. Resistance genes exist for both streptomycin and tetracycline, and spraying with these chemicals increases the frequency of resistant genotypes by killing those susceptible to the antibiotic and leaving the others. Those genes may be taken up by other bacteria through a number of mechanisms, collectively known as “horizontal gene transfer.”

The contribution of antibiotic use in fruit trees to resistance in human pathogens may not be nearly as important as the use of non-therapeutic antibiotics in livestock and farmed fish, but it does have an impact on the pool of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Furthermore, residues of antibiotics in the soil may be taken up by treated or untreated plants and affect bacteria (Kumar et al., 2005). Disruption of human gut microbiota A human being contains more cells in and on the body that belong to microbes—and contain more microbial DNA—than those that originate from human genes. In fact, only 10% of human cells are genetically human, and only 1% of the DNA in the human is “human.” The 90% of human cells that are microbial in origin are not (mostly) pathogenic, nor are they (mostly) just along for the ride. They are (mostly) symbionts that help the body function as it should. The human body, rather than being a distinct organism, should be thought of as a biological community, or “superorganism,” truly the product of coevolution.

In addition to interfering with digestion, exposure to antibiotics can disturb the microbiota, contributing to a whole host of “21st century diseases,” including diabetes, obesity, food allergies, heart disease, antibiotic-resistant infections, cancer, asthma, autism, irritable bowel syndrome, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and more. The human immune system is largely composed of microbiota.

Help support organic agriculture, which eliminated the allowed use of antibiotics for fruit production due to concerns over resistance. Instead of “combatting” disease or unwanted insects, help policy makers identify the conditions that allow for their proliferation.

Take Action

Submit (and personalize) your comment to EPA to prohibit antibiotics in the food supply. You may use the general language below by cutting and pasting into the public comment page on this issue.

Post Your Comment by January 19:

Do not permit the use of antibiotics, including streptomycin, in citrus production. This creates a public health threat that EPA must consider in real terms, as it relates to longer-lasting infections, higher medical expenses, the need for more costly or hazardous medications, and the inability to treat life-threatening infections. Antibiotic resistance is a real and urgent public health threat and represents an existential threat to modern civilization.  Antibiotic resistance kills over 23,000 people each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In addition to the CDC, the World Health Organization has cited this escalating problem as one of the biggest public health challenges of our time.

“By 2050, resistance is estimated to add 10 million annual deaths globally with a cumulative cost to the world economy of US$100 trillion,” said Jack Heinemann, PhD, University Canterbury’s School of Biological Sciences.

 In addition to interfering with digestion, exposure to antibiotics can disturb the microbiota, contributing to a whole host of “21st century diseases,” including diabetes, obesity, food allergies, heart disease, antibiotic-resistant infections, cancer, asthma, autism, irritable bowel syndrome, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and more. The human immune system is largely composed of microbiota. Treating all these diseases have real costs that must be calculated when the agency allows exposure to a pesticide, in this case an antibiotic used for non-medical uses.

Consider the real cost to the American people and internationally and prohibit the use of streptomycin in citrus production by setting a tolerance or allowable residue of zero. Thank you for your consideration.

 

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

Source: Florida Phoenix, Center for Biological Diversity

Share

Leave a Reply

  • Archives

  • Categories

    • ALS (2)
    • Announcements (586)
    • Antibiotic Resistance (7)
    • Aquaculture (23)
    • Aquatic Organisms (8)
    • Beneficials (28)
    • Biodiversity (37)
    • Biofuels (6)
    • Biological Control (15)
    • Biomonitoring (28)
    • Birds (4)
    • btomsfiolone (1)
    • Canada (10)
    • Cannabis (22)
    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (4)
    • Children (19)
    • Children/Schools (219)
    • Climate Change (34)
    • contamination (78)
    • Environmental Justice (112)
    • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (113)
    • Events (82)
    • Farm Bill (10)
    • Farmworkers (121)
    • Fertilizer (2)
    • Fracking (3)
    • Fungicides (2)
    • Goats (1)
    • Golf (11)
    • Health care (32)
    • Holidays (24)
    • Household Use (1)
    • Integrated and Organic Pest Management (58)
    • International (288)
    • Invasive Species (29)
    • Label Claims (47)
    • Lawns/Landscapes (190)
    • Litigation (293)
    • Microbiata (5)
    • Microbiome (6)
    • Nanosilver (1)
    • Nanotechnology (53)
    • National Politics (386)
    • Pesticide Drift (132)
    • Pesticide Regulation (685)
    • Pesticide Residues (149)
    • Pets (18)
    • Preemption (14)
    • Resistance (80)
    • Rodenticide (22)
    • Synthetic Pyrethroids (1)
    • Take Action (419)
    • Toxic Waste (1)
    • Uncategorized (395)
    • Wildlife/Endangered Sp. (332)
    • Wood Preservatives (22)
  • Most Viewed Posts