Antibiotics in our food supply…

pink pggThere have been a few occasions, over the course of this blog, that I have been accused of writing too much “fear based content”.  Hmm… okay.  Well, I’ve never really looked at it that way… I’ve always thought I was just sharing tips, ideas and the things I have learned or have come to “know” in helping others live greener, healthier lives…

So, for those who don’t like that type of information, I’ll preface this by saying that you’re probably not going to like what I’m about to share.

Nonetheless, I find this next bit of information really bothersome and I happen to think it’s worthy of sharing.  Okay, now you’ve been lovingly warned…

Here goes…

The FDA recently released the fact that 80% of the antibiotics sold and used in 2009 were actually administered to livestock used for our food supply.  Of the 35 million pounds used, 28 million pounds were used for agricultural animals and only 7 million pounds were used on humans.

The concern is this… evidence shows that the ever increasing use of antibiotics on agricultural animals (used for food) is contributing to the growth of bacteria that is resistant to the antibiotics we use to treat human illnesses.

Most often, they are not used for therapeutic reasons either. They are used to increase the growth, weight and size of animals more rapidly, and also attempt to control diseases when the animals are raised in such cramped confinement quarters.  There is also the need cow2to maintain the animal’s illnesses because they are fed with things that are unnatural to their digestive systems.  (Regular readers might recall a previous post about agricultural animals actually being fed junk food!)

I could go on and on about this topic but, suffice it to say, this is the exact reason all of the meats, eggs and milk I purchase for my family are antibiotic-free, steroid-free and growth hormone-free…

While I hope you don’t think my advice is fear-based, I have to be honest and say this information does scare me…

Your thoughts?

“Superbugs”, antibiotics and drugs… oh my!

sup bug virMy recent post about avoiding antibacterial products actually got me thinking more about the issues of antibiotics, medications and even “superbugs”, as well as the proper disposal of unused medications. While we certainly want to avoid the products containing Triclosan (that can accumulate in our bodies and decrease the effectiveness of antibiotics), there are other important points about using antibiotics and medications that I want to be sure to share, so here goes…

When antibiotics ARE needed, it is very important to complete the dosage prescribed by your physician because failing to do so can also help create “superbugs”.  New term to you?  Well, by stopping antibiotic use BEFORE you have completed the full course means that the “stronger” of the bacteria can remain present in your body and they have the potential to rapidly multiply and cause you the same symptoms again.  This “survival” means they are more likely to become resistant to the drug and these “superbugs” are created.  (Kinda gives you the chills, huh?… me too!)

Along with this discussion it seems logical for us to remember about the proper disposal of unused drugs and medications.  In a post quite some time ago I talked about all the dangers of the common “flush factor”… those of us who flush medications down the toilet.  Baaaad practice!  This means they end up in our water sources since most water treatment facilities don’t have the ability to remove them.

That original post offered suggestions including contacting your local pharmacy to see if they have a program to properly dispose of medications or checking Earth911 to locate a drop-off in your community.

But, if you MUST dispose of them yourself, consider the greener, safer way to do it… to keep drugs out of our water sources and prevent soil contamination from landfills too:druggz

  • Keep them in the original container so they can be identified if they are found (but remove your personal information and identification).
  • Add water to pills to start dissolving them.
  • Add coffee grounds, sand or kitty litter to liquids to help absorb them.
  • Put the original container in a secondary container and securely tape the lid closed.
  • Put them deep in your trash.

The absolute best option is to find a safe disposal option, and as much as I dislike the idea of adding this trash to a landfill, it is certainly the option safer than adding them to the drinking water of you, me and… our kids!