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Daily News Blog

30
Jan

As Bacterial Resistance to Antibiotics Grows, There Are Continued Calls for Immediate Action

(Beyond Pesticides, January 30, 2023) Because antibiotics and fungicides are widely used in agriculture (except organic), they contribute significantly to the increasing efficacy problems with antimicrobial (antibiotic and antifungal medicines) use in health care, contributing to a growing crisis. According to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, World Health Organization Director-General, “Antimicrobial resistance undermines modern medicine and puts millions of lives at risk.”  Microorganisms—including bacteria, fungi, and viruses—are notoriously quick to evolve resistance to antimicrobial medicines. We know that selection for resistance is directly related to the frequency and intensity of antimicrobial use, so medical practitioners try to avoid using those medicines unless they are necessary.

Tell EPA to cancel all uses of a pesticide when resistance is discovered or predicted to occur. Tell Congress to ensure that EPA protects public health from deadly antifungal and antibiotic resistance.

Unfortunately, the medical profession lacks complete control over the use of antimicrobials. Many of the same chemicals used in human medicine are also used in agriculture. These may show up in or on treated food, but can also spread antimicrobial resistance through horizontal gene transfer. So, in addition to ingesting antibiotics in our food, the movement of resistant bacteria and fungi in the environment contribute to this escalating crisis.

Oral arguments began last week in a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) approval of the antibiotic streptomycin as a pesticide on citrus crops. Brought forth by a coalition of farmworker, health, and environmental groups, the lawsuit aims to stop the use of a critical medical treatment for agricultural purposes. Beyond Pesticides executive director Jay Feldman commented on the filing of the lawsuit: “It is past time to take urgent action to transition away from practices in agriculture that are dependent on antibiotics, advance organic farm management, and avoid new deadly pandemics. This lawsuit is an important action to reverse the previous administration’s decision to ignore the science and allow expanded use of an antibiotic in agriculture.”

 Not all antimicrobial pesticides are registered for their antimicrobial action. For example, the herbicides glyphosate, 2,4-D, and dicamba are able to create resistance in Salmonella and E. coli. From another health perspective, antimicrobial pesticides may negatively affect the gut microbiome, which is essential for human nutrition and immune system function. EPA must cease registration of pesticides with antimicrobial effects (or potential antimicrobial effects) in human pathogens or beneficial human microbiota.

Tell EPA to cancel all uses of a pesticide when resistance is discovered or predicted to occur. Tell Congress to ensure that EPA protects public health from deadly antifungal and antibiotic resistance.

Letter to EPA

Because antibiotics and fungicides registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are widely used in agriculture (except organic), they contribute significantly to the increasing efficacy problems with antimicrobial (antibiotic and antifungal medicines) use in health care, contributing to a growing crisis. According to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, World Health Organization Director-General, “Antimicrobial resistance undermines modern medicine and puts millions of lives at risk. ”Microorganisms—including bacteria, fungi, and viruses—are notoriously quick to evolve resistance to antimicrobial medicines. We know that selection for resistance is directly related to the frequency and intensity of antimicrobial use, so medical practitioners try to avoid using those medicines unless they are necessary.

Unfortunately, the medical profession lacks complete control over the use of antimicrobials. Many of the same chemicals used in human medicine are also used in agriculture. These may show up in or on treated food, but can also spread antimicrobial resistance through horizontal gene transfer.

Meanwhile, litigation appears to be necessary to focus EPA on its responsibility to protect public health in the face of a growing crisis of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). As you know, oral arguments began last week in a lawsuit challenging the agency’s approval of the antibiotic streptomycin as a pesticide on citrus crops. Brought forth by a coalition of farmworker, health, and environmental groups, the lawsuit aims to stop the use of a critical medical treatment for agricultural purposes. Beyond Pesticides executive director Jay Feldman commented on the filing of the lawsuit: “It is past time to take urgent action to transition away from practices in agriculture that are dependent on antibiotics, advance organic farm management, and avoid new deadly pandemics. This lawsuit is an important action to reverse the previous administration’s decision to ignore the science and allow expanded use of an antibiotic in agriculture.” The good news is that we can grow crops without these chemicals with organic production systems, even in Florida on citrus, where organic citrus production is productive and profitable.

 Not all antimicrobial pesticides are registered for their antimicrobial action, which does not release EPA from its responsibility to assess their contribution to the escalating AMR problem. For example, the herbicides glyphosate, 2,4-D, and dicamba can create resistance in Salmonella and E. coli. From another health perspective, antimicrobial pesticides may negatively affect the gut microbiome, which is essential for human nutrition and immune system function.

EPA must cease registration of pesticides with antimicrobial effects (or potential antimicrobial effects) in human pathogens or beneficial human microbiota. Their continued use and associated hazards are “unreasonable” under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. Please do the right thing and uphold EPA’s responsibility to protect public health.

Thank you.

Letter to U.S. Senators and Representative

Because antibiotics and fungicides registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are widely used in agriculture (except organic), they contribute significantly to the increasing efficacy problems with antimicrobial (antibiotic and antifungal medicines) use in health care, contributing to a growing crisis. According to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, World Health Organization Director-General, “Antimicrobial resistance undermines modern medicine and puts millions of lives at risk. Microorganisms—including bacteria, fungi, and viruses—are notoriously quick to evolve resistance to antimicrobial medicines. We know that selection for resistance is directly related to the frequency and intensity of antimicrobial use, so medical practitioners try to avoid using those medicines unless they are necessary.

Unfortunately, the medical profession lacks complete control over the use of antimicrobials. Many of the same chemicals used in human medicine are also used in agriculture. These may show up in or on treated food, but can also spread antimicrobial resistance through horizontal gene transfer.

Meanwhile, litigation appears to be necessary to focus EPA on its responsibility to protect public health in the face of a growing crisis of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). As you may know, oral arguments began last week in a lawsuit challenging EPA’s approval of the antibiotic streptomycin as a pesticide on citrus crops. Brought forth by a coalition of farmworker, health, and environmental groups, the lawsuit aims to stop the use of a critical medical treatment for agricultural purposes. Beyond Pesticides executive director Jay Feldman commented on the filing of the lawsuit: “It is past time to take urgent action to transition away from practices in agriculture that are dependent on antibiotics, advance organic farm management, and avoid new deadly pandemics. This lawsuit is an important action to reverse the previous administration’s decision to ignore the science and allow expanded use of an antibiotic in agriculture.” The good news is that we can grow crops without these chemicals with organic production systems, even in Florida on citrus, where organic citrus production is productive and profitable.

 Not all antimicrobial pesticides are registered for their antimicrobial action. For example, the herbicides glyphosate, 2,4-D, and dicamba can create resistance in Salmonella and E. coli. From another health perspective, antimicrobial pesticides may negatively affect the gut microbiome, which is essential for human nutrition and immune system function.

Please co-sponsor and support S. 3291 (Strategies To Address Antibiotic Resistance Act or the STAAR Act), which is expected to be reintroduced in the 118th Congress and will help ensure that antimicrobial resistance is monitored. Additionally, please ensure that EPA cease registration of pesticides with antimicrobial effects (or potential antimicrobial effects) in human pathogens or beneficial human microbiota. Their continued use and associated hazards are “unreasonable” under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.

Thank you.

 

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  • Archives

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    • air pollution (8)
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