According to the new report from the U.S. Pediatricians, the overuse of antibiotics within animal feed it making it harder for doctors to help children fight off life-threatening infections.
The recent report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that the fairly common practice of giving healthy livestock antibiotics as a ‘prevention’ tactic is making the drugs more ineffective especially when they are needed to treat infections in our children. Most of the nonorganic meat in the US is full of hormones and antibiotics which ends up in the food and is negatively influencing our health.
“The antibiotics that are fed to the animals lead to the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria in the animal,” said Dr. Theoklis Zaoutis of the University of Pennsylvania and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “These bacteria can then be spread to other animals, the environment and to humans.”
According to Dr. Jereome Paulson and Zaoutis more than 2 million people in the US become ill with infections that are antibiotic-resistant each year. As a result, 23,000 people a year die because we overuse antibiotics.
Antibiotics are in our food, over prescribed and in many household products. When you eat meat or dairy products you fill your body with antibiotics that can create super bacteria within your system. When you use antibacterial liquid soaps you are also destroying good bacteria while also making bad bacteria stronger and more resistant. The results are a weakened immune system and a harder time fighting off infections.
Researcher estimate that the costs to the US healthcare system because of antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria are anywhere from $21billion to $34 billion each year.
Our children are not spared from this issue. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria end up in the food supply because of animals being exposed in their environment be it in a pasture or in factory farming.
Out of all the major infection cases, it was most common in children under the age of five according to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and the Prevention’s Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network.
People in the US are unable to get antibiotics without a prescription but according to the researcher animals can.
There are a few different things that parents can do to help counter balance the overuse of antibiotics in their children. Both parents and pediatricians can be more careful to not prescribe antibiotics when there is a viral infection such as a cold because they will not be effective. In theory, we should try and fight off illnesses on our own with the support of good nutrition and only use antibiotics as a last resort.
Another way to combat the antibiotics is to discourage antibiotic use in livestock. You can do that by voting with your dollars and only buying organic meat or meat that is “raised without antibiotics,” said Urvashi Rangan who is the director over the Consumer Reports Food Safety and Sustainability Center.
“Consuming foods from animals produced without the routine use of antibiotics is one important step in reducing personal risk; so is cooking our foods thoroughly,” said Rangan, who wasn’t part of the study.
Long Term Solutions
There are two long-term solutions. One is that we phase out meat and other animal products. This takes some creativity, but there are a lot of meat alternatives that you can flavor the same way and barely notice a difference. Most of our favorite parts of eating meat is the plant seasonings anyways.
The second option is that we drastically change how we treat the animals that we, as a society, are raising for food. We need to stop using antibiotics in healthy animals. We also need to get our animals out of the factory farms and back out into a more natural environment so they don’t get sick and need the antibiotics to begin with. This will help prevent the need for antibiotics while giving these animals the ability to better enjoy the time they have.
Antibiotic researcher Timothy Landers from Ohio State University in Columbus points out that just because you received your meat from an organic source doesn’t guarantee that there won’t be harmful antibiotic resistant bacteria present.
“From a farmer’s perspective, the use of antibiotics helps ensure that food is safe, nutritious and affordable,” Landers said. “What we have lacked is a coordinated, integrated approach to antibiotic resistance including experts on human health, food production animal health and the environment.”
In the end, we do not know enough about antibiotics and more research is needed on the topic to determine if they are even safe to be in the food supply at all.
“..more than 50 renowned scientists signed on to the FDA letter calling for action: we simply must have more data on antibiotic use in food-animal production in order to preserve our life-saving antibiotics and slow this growing public health crisis.”- Lance B. Price, Ph.D., is a microbiologist and the director of the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center at Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University in Washington, DC.
Let us know in the comments below what you think about the meat industry, antibiotics and how it is all affecting out health.
Image Credits: Jean Michel Foujols/Corbis
Biden to Ban Menthol Cigarettes, Citing Health Impact on Youth and Black People
The Biden administration is reportedly planning to propose an immediate ban on menthol cigarettes, a product that has long been targeted by anti-smoking advocates and critics who claim that the tobacco industry has aggressively marketed to Black people in the U.S.
On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that the administration could announce a ban on menthol and other flavored cigarettes as soon as this week.
Roughly 85 percent of Black smokers use such menthol brands as Newport and Kool, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Research has also found that menthol cigarettes are easier to become addicted to and harder to quit than unflavored tobacco products, along with other small cigars popular with young people and African Americans.
Civil rights advocates claim that the decision should be greeted by Black communities and people of color who have been marketed to by what they describe as the predatory tobacco industry.
Black smokers generally smoke far less than white smokers, but suffer a disproportionate amount of deaths due to tobacco-linked diseases like heart attack, stroke, and other causes.
Anti-smoking advocates like Matthew L. Myers, president of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, also greeted the move to cut out products that appeal to children and young adults.
“Menthol cigarettes are the No. 1 cause of youth smoking in the United States,” he said. “Eliminating menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars used by so many kids will do more in the long run to reduce tobacco-related disease than any action the federal government has ever taken.”
However, groups including the American Civil Liberties Group (ACLU) has opposed the move, citing the likelihood that such an action could lead to criminal penalties arising from the enforcement of a ban hitting communities of color hardest.
In a letter to administration officials, the ACLU and other groups including the Drug Policy Alliance said that while the ban is “no doubt well-intentioned” it would also have “serious racial justice implications.”
“Such a ban will trigger criminal penalties, which will disproportionately impact people of color, as well as prioritize criminalization over public health and harm reduction,” the letter explained. “A ban will also lead to unconstitutional policing and other negative interactions with local law enforcement.”
Pollution Is Making Human Penises Shrink and Causing a Collapse of Fertility, Scientists Say
With many still scoffing at the idea of rampant pollution posing a threat to humanity, a new study could drastically change the conversation: the chemicals across our environment could be the cause of shrinking human penises.
According to a new book by Dr. Shanna H. Swan, conditions in the modern world are quickly altering the reproductive development of humans and posing a threat to our future as a species.
The argument is laid out in her new book Count Down: How Our Modern World Is Threatening Sperm Counts, Altering Male and Female Reproductive Development, and Imperiling the Future of the Human Race.
The book discusses how pollution is not only leading to skyrocketing erectile dysfunction rates and fertility decline, but also an expansion in the number of babies born with small penises.
While it may seem like good fodder for jokes, the research could portend a grim future for humanity’s ability to survive.
Swan co-authored a study in 2017 that found sperm counts had precipitously fallen in Western countries by 59 percent between 1973 and 2011. In her latest book, Swan blames chemicals for this crisis in the making.
“Chemicals in our environment and unhealthy lifestyle practices in our modern world are disrupting our hormonal balance, causing various degrees of reproductive havoc,” she wrote in the new book.
“In some parts of the world, the average twentysomething woman today is less fertile than her grandmother was at 35,” she also wrote, noting that men could have only half the sperm count of their grandfathers.
Swan blames the disruption on phthalates, the chemicals used in plastic manufacturing that also have an impact on how the crucial hormone endocrine is produced
However, experts note that the proper implementation of pollution reduction measures could help humanity prevent the collapse of human fertility.
Visualizing The World’s Deadliest Pandemics By Population Impact
Humanity has been battling against disease for centuries.
And while most contagious outbreaks have never reached full-blown pandemic status, Visual Capitalist’s Carmen Ang notes that there have been several times throughout history when a disease has caused mass devastation.
Here’s a look at the world’s deadliest pandemics to date, viewed from the lens of the impact they had on the global population at the time.
Editor’s note: The above graphic was created in response to a popular request from users after viewing our popular history of pandemics infographic initially released a year ago.
Death Toll, by Percent of Population
In the mid-1300s, a plague known as the Black Death claimed the lives of roughly 200 million people – more than 50% of the global population at that time.
Here’s how the death toll by population stacks up for other significant pandemics, including COVID-19 so far.
The specific cause of the Black Death is still up for debate. Many experts claim the 14th-century pandemic was caused by a bubonic plague, meaning there was no human-to-human transmission, while others argue it was possibly pneumonic.
Interestingly, the plague still exists today – however, it’s significantly less deadly, thanks to modern antibiotics.
History Repeats, But at Least We Keep Learning
While we clearly haven’t eradicated infection diseases from our lives entirely, we’ve at least come a long way in our understanding of what causes illness in the first place.
In ancient times, people believed gods and spirits caused diseases and widespread destruction. But by the 19th century, a scientist named Louis Pasteur (based on findings by Robert Koch) discovered germ theory – the idea that small organisms caused disease.
What will we discover next, and how will it impact our response to disease in the future?
Like this? Check out the full-length article The History of Pandemics
Republished from ZH with permission.