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Daily News Blog

14
Nov

Findings Add to Crisis, Antibiotics in Agriculture, Lawns, and Landscapes Threaten Health

(Beyond Pesticides, November 14, 2022) Glyphosate weed killers induce antibiotic resistance in deadly hospital-acquired bacteria, according to a new study published late last month in the journal Scientific Reports. This is the latest finding connecting commonly used herbicides to the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria. To put this finding in context, antibiotic resistance is rising to dangerously high levels in all parts of the world, according to the World Health Organization. In the May 1, 2022, issue of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, Samira Choudhury, PhD, et al. writes, “Often referred to as the silent pandemic, antimicrobial resistance claims the lives of over 700,000 people annually.” The authors continue, “A study suggests that if no actions are taken, antimicrobial resistance will cause 10 million deaths per year by 2050 and an economic impact of over 100 trillion United States dollars.”

Tell EPA and Congress that antibiotic pesticides in agriculture, lawns, and landscapes must be eliminated.

Use of antibiotics in animal agriculture has long been recognized as a contributor to widespread antibiotic resistance. More recently, recognition of the contribution of antibiotics in plant agriculture has led to pressure to eliminate agricultural uses of antibiotics used in medicine. However, two facts lead to the conclusion that even that is too shortsighted. First, science shows that use of any antibiotics anywhere can increase antibiotic resistance everywhere. Second, many pesticides not intended to kill microbes—such as the herbicides glyphosate, 2,4-D, and dicamba—also induce antibiotic resistance in deadly human pathogens.

These two facts lead to the conclusion that we must stop broadcasting pesticides in the environment and applying them to food. The crisis in antibiotic resistance, which creates a threat of another pandemic, is ignored in the registration of pesticides. The antibiotic impacts of pesticides cited above were discovered only after the pesticides have been disseminated in the environment for decades. At the same time, it is understood that underlying practices and conditions that could be changed in land and agricultural management are the principle reasons for antibiotic use in these areas. As Michael Greger, M.D., Ph.D., author of Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching, explains, “When we overcrowd animals by the thousands, in cramped football-field-size sheds, to lie beak to beak or snout to snout, and there’s stress crippling their immune systems, and there’s ammonia from the decomposing waste burning their lungs, and there’s a lack of fresh air and sunlight — put all these factors together and you have a perfect-storm environment for the emergence and spread of disease.” In addition to animal agriculture, the regulation of antibiotics in chemical-intensive crop production is alarmingly weak, allowing residues of antibiotics and antibiotic-resistant bacteria to emerge on agricultural lands, move through the environment, contaminate waterways, and ultimately reach consumers and the general public.

EPA must consider the availability and viability of organic practices, which under USDA organic certification do not allow the use of antibiotics.

EPA must not register pesticides unless they have been demonstrated not to contribute to antibiotic resistance and must cancel the registration of those that do.

 Letter to EPA Administrator and OPP:

I am writing to ask EPA to act on a serious threat to human health from antibiotic resistance. According to a new study published late last month in the journal Scientific Reports, glyphosate weed killers induce antibiotic resistance in deadly hospital-acquired bacteria. To put this in context, antibiotic resistance is rising to dangerously high levels in all parts of the world, according to the World Health Organization. In the May 1, 2022, issue of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, Samira Choudhury, PhD, et al. write, “Often referred to as the silent pandemic, antimicrobial resistance claims the lives of over 700,000 people annually.” The authors continue, “A study suggests that if no actions are taken, antimicrobial resistance will cause 10 million deaths per year by 2050 and an economic impact of over 100 trillion United States dollars.”

Use of antibiotics in animal agriculture has long been recognized as a contributor to widespread antibiotic resistance. More recently, recognition of the contribution of antibiotics in plant agriculture has led to pressure to eliminate agricultural uses of antibiotics used in medicine. However, two facts lead to the conclusion that even that is too shortsighted. First, science shows that use of any antibiotics anywhere can increase antibiotic resistance everywhere. Second, many pesticides not intended to kill microbes—such as the herbicides glyphosate, 2,4-D, and dicamba—also induce antibiotic resistance in deadly human pathogens.

These two facts lead to the conclusion that we must stop broadcasting pesticides in the environment and applying them to food. The crisis in antibiotic resistance, which creates a threat of another pandemic, is ignored in the registration of pesticides. The antibiotic impacts of pesticides cited above were discovered only after the pesticides have been disseminated in the environment for decades.

EPA must not register pesticides unless they have been demonstrated not to contribute to antibiotic resistance and must cancel the registration of those that do. EPA must consider the availability and viability of organic practices, which under USDA organic certification do not allow the use of antibiotics.

Thank you for your attention to this serious problem.

Letter to U.S. Representative and Senators:

I am writing to ask you to ensure that EPA acts on a serious threat to human health from antibiotic resistance. According to a new study published late last month in the journal Scientific Reports, glyphosate weed killers induce antibiotic resistance in deadly hospital-acquired bacteria. To put this in context, antibiotic resistance is rising to dangerously high levels in all parts of the world, according to the World Health Organization. In the May 1, 2022, issue of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, Samira Choudhury, PhD, et al. write, “Often referred to as the silent pandemic, antimicrobial resistance claims the lives of over 700,000 people annually.” The authors continue, “A study suggests that if no actions are taken, antimicrobial resistance will cause 10 million deaths per year by 2050 and an economic impact of over 100 trillion United States dollars.”

Use of antibiotics in animal agriculture has long been recognized as a contributor to widespread antibiotic resistance. More recently, recognition of the contribution of antibiotics in plant agriculture has led to pressure to eliminate agricultural uses of antibiotics used in medicine. However, two facts lead to the conclusion that even that is too shortsighted. First, science shows that use of any antibiotics anywhere can increase antibiotic resistance everywhere. Second, many pesticides not intended to kill microbes—such as the herbicides glyphosate, 2,4-D, and dicamba—also induce antibiotic resistance in deadly human pathogens.

These two facts lead to the conclusion that we must stop broadcasting pesticides in the environment and applying them to food. The crisis in antibiotic resistance, which creates a threat of another pandemic, is ignored in the registration of pesticides. The antibiotic impacts of pesticides cited above were discovered only after the pesticides have been disseminated in the environment for decades.

EPA must not register pesticides unless they have been demonstrated not to contribute to antibiotic resistance and must cancel the registration of those that do. EPA must consider the availability and viability of organic practices, which under USDA organic certification do not allow the use of antibiotics.

Thank you for your attention to this serious problem.

 

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  • Archives

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