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Drugs in Our Water

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Thanks to the imagination of a school girl in WV, a growing appreciation exists of our exposure to pharmaceutical drugs in our water supply system. It was her school experiment after reading about drugs in Swiss lakes that sparked the US Geological Service to launch a survey of streams, rivers, lakes, and ponds. The results were startling to all; widespread contamination of our waters was present from pharmaceutical drugs dumped down drains, in the trash, and from commodes. Click here to read further http://www.parade.com/news/intelligence-report/archive/keep-drugs-out-of-the-water-supply.html.

However action remains limited on this issue nearly eight years later. Now with the recent report that the Center for Food Safety and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy filed a petition with the Food and Drug Administration in December 2009 that called for an immediate withdrawal of arsenic-containing compounds in animal feed, comes further scrutiny of our exposure to drugs and to compounds such as arsenic in animal feed. You may be unaware that arsenic-containing compounds are widely used in chicken production. Most arsenic-containing animal feed additives are not used to treat sickness but are, instead, added  in poultry production to induce faster weight gain and create the appearance of a healthy color in meat from chickens (and to a lesser extent, turkeys and hogs). Arsenic is a known and powerful heavy metal and carcinogen. It is now well known that these feed additives lead to arsenic residue in conventionally raised chickens, those sold in supermarkets and served in restaurants across the country, and in the environment, putting our health and that of wildlife at risk.
Former FDA commissioner Dr. Donald Kennedy (appointed by Secretary Califano in the 1970s, neurophysiologist, and Stanford professor emeritus of environmental science) recently called in Congress to take a simple step to protect the health of all Americans. His call was to eliminate the use of non-therapeutic antibiotics in animal feed. He noted, click here to read further http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/18/opinion/18kennedy.html, that the total number of antibiotics used in animal feed to promote their growth, continues to grow even after one antibiotic class, fluoroquinolones, was banned in 2005 from poultry feed. At present, seventy percent of all antibiotics are used in animal feed in the U.S.  Dr. Kennedy and other noted experts including Tufts University professor Dr. Stuart Levy, president of Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics, have warned about the growing correlation between drug-resistant infections and the overuse and abuse of antibiotics including their use in farm animal feed. At present there are over 2 million annual hospital acquired infections that kill up to 106,000 Americans each year. These unnecessary infections are more difficult than ever to treat thanks, in part, to the indiscriminate use of antibiotics in farm animals as well as the overuse in medical practice. Dr. Levy, director of the Center for Adaptation Genetics and Drug Resistance at Tufts University in Boston, spoke of the consequences of Sweden’s 1986 ban on antibiotics to promote livestock growth.
While infectious outbreaks in the first year increased the need for antibiotic therapy, Levy says, use of the drugs fell thereafter. Total antibiotic use for food animals in Sweden is now 55 percent lower than before the ban, according to a report to be published in the Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics Newsletter, click here to read further http://www.sciencenews.org/sn_arc98/7_18_98/fob7.htm. But again, this news has yet to raise alarm in government circles. As we now learn that substances are present in personal care products that never appear on the label, there is growing awareness of what’s in my water, what’s in my grilled chicken, what’s in my filet, and the list goes on. We spend enormous dollars within government agencies with the goal in mind to protect and educate consumers in order to make informed lifestyle choices. How is it possible that not only are these facts overlooked for decades but ignored when brought to light? Every consumer has the right to know about the mercury in their fish, the arsenic in their chicken, the antibiotics in their beef. Only then can consumers vote with their pocket-book and action within this nation’s agribusiness will change.
From Deborah A. Ray, MT(ASCP)
Copyright © 2010 Natural Health Science News. Permission granted to forward, copy, or reprint with date and attribution to Natural Health Science News.

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