[Pharmwaste] FW: Preventing Antibiotic Resistance Act
Laurie.Tenace at dep.state.fl.us
Fri Jul 12 08:06:50 EDT 2013
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From: Garner, Dylan at Waterboards [mailto:Dylan.Garner at waterboards.ca.gov]
Sent: Thursday, July 11, 2013 4:13 PM
To: pharmwaste at lists.dep.state.fl.us
Subject: Preventing Antibiotic Resistance Act
"Last week, in an effort to stop this perilous trend [antibiotic resistance], Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., introduced the Preventing Antibiotic Resistance Act to phase out the widespread practice of mixing antibiotics into the feed and water of robust livestock." Great news for public health, wastewater treatment plants, and water quality!
Dr. Harvey Karp: Antibiotic use in animals puts children in peril
By Harvey Karp, MD
Special to the Mercury News
Posted: 07/05/2013 12:01:00 PM PDT
Anyone who has watched a child suffer through strep throat or bronchitis knows the miraculous healing power of antibiotics. We take these medicines for granted, but they didn't exist a scant 80 years ago. And, 80 years from today they may no longer exist because of a trend that is pickpocketing them right out of your doctor's black bag.
This trend is antibiotic resistance, which develops when disease-causing bacteria become immune to the drugs that once easily killed them. This resistance can quickly spread to other bacteria. Increasingly, illnesses once fully susceptible to antibiotics are reverting into life-threatening superbugs.
Last week, in an effort to stop this perilous trend, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., introduced the Preventing Antibiotic Resistance Act to phase out the widespread practice of mixing antibiotics into the feed and water of robust livestock.
For decades, the medical community has pressured doctors to stop unnecessary antibiotic use. But while doctors increasingly prescribe with care, many farmers cavalierly overuse these lifesaving drugs. Unbelievably, roughly 80 percent of antibiotics used in America each year are fed to perfectly healthy farm animals. They're infused into cow, pig, chicken and turkey feed to fractionally boost their weight and to reduce diseases that might otherwise result from filthy, factory-farm conditions.
Today, numerous dangerous microbes are unfazed by our most powerful antibiotics. Some of the most potent "silver bullet" antibiotics ever made have been rendered almost useless. Meanwhile, the pipeline for new antimicrobials is drying up. Between 1935 and 1968, 14 classes of antibiotics were discovered; between 1968 and 2005, only two.
In some cases, doctors are forced to treat sick patients with older and more dangerous forms of medication in the hope that the bacteria will be susceptible to drugs that haven't been used in decades. For example, last year, National Institutes of Health doctors fought an outbreak of illness from a deadly, drug-resistant bacteria by using a 1940s antibiotic long avoided because it can severely damage the kidneys.
Is it wise to require doctors to carefully prescribe antibiotics, yet allow farmers to use them on millions of animals each and every day?
Beginning in 1977, the Food and Drug Administration has cautioned that feeding tons of antibiotics to livestock leads to surges in drug resistance. Yet the FDA has taken no effective action to halt the practice despite decades of proof that these bacteria move easily from the farm to threaten human lives.
Smart policies can reduce this threat. After Denmark phased out the routine use of antibiotics in pig feed, it benefited with a 50 percent drop in antibiotic use plus a boost in swine production. The World Health Organization noted that the new practice resulted in only 1 percent higher cost. Triumphantly, the Danish government reported that its policy "resulted in a major reduction in antimicrobial resistance as measured among several different bacterial species in food animals and food."
Thanks to a lawsuit brought by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the FDA must now directly regulate antibiotics in animal feed. But the agency is fighting that court order, preferring to let corporations police themselves. This is why Congress must compel the government to protect our families by enacting bills like the Preventing Antibiotic Resistance Act.
Most blithely assume antibiotics will always be there whenever we or our children get sick. That is no longer the case. If we don't stop squandering these drugs on healthy animals, our children and grandchildren will be forced to live in a harrowing post-antibiotic age.
Dr. Harvey Karp, a Los Angeles pediatrician, is author of "The Happiest Baby on the Block." He wrote this for this newspaper.
Dylan Winn Garner
Water Resource Control Engineer
California Regional Water Quality Control Board
San Francisco Bay Region
1515 Clay Street, Ste 1400
Oakland, CA 94612
dylan.garner at waterboards.ca.gov<mailto:dylan.garner at waterboards.ca.gov>
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