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Stop The Overuse Of Antibiotics on Factory Farms
A GROWING THREAT TO PUBLIC HEALTH — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that at least 23,000 Americans die every year from antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and warns that the widespread overuse of antibiotics on factory farms is putting our health at risk.
WHAT IF ANTIBIOTICS STOPPED WORKING?
If you are like most Americans, you or someone in your family has been prescribed antibiotics to treat an illness. Maybe it was a simple ear infection, or strep throat. Or maybe it was something potentially life-threatening, like pneumonia or a post-surgery infection.
We assume that when we get an infectious illness the antibiotics our doctors prescribe for us will make us better. But what if they didn’t? Medical experts, including from the World Health Organization, are warning that if we don’t stop the overuse of antibiotics, they could stop working — with potentially grave consequences for public health.
ANTIBIOTIC OVERUSE ON FACTORY FARMS
Despite these warnings, many factory farms are giving antibiotics to healthy livestock every day. Why? Crowded and unsanitary conditions, along with other practices used on factory farms can put animals’ health at risk.
But, instead of treating sick animals with antibiotics when they get an infection, many farming operations just distribute antibiotics to all of their animals as a preventative measure. Factory farms also discovered that giving animals a regular dose of antibiotics made them gain weight faster. And now, up to 70% of antibiotics sold in the United States are used on livestock.
Antibiotics are meant to be given in precise doses to treat specific types of infections. When they are used on a daily basis by farming operations, it increases the likelihood that all kinds of bacteria, including the ones that make people sick, will develop resistance, and our life-saving medicines won't work.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections." Abd a recent study found that unless action is taken, these infections would kill more people worldwide by 2050 than cancer does today.
HEALTH PROFESSIONALS RAISING THE ALARM
The calls for action from the public health community are growing louder, and more urgent. For instance, World Health Organization officials said: "Without urgent, coordinated action by many stakeholders, the world is headed for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill."
Doctors are also overwhelmingly concerned. In a poll released by U.S. PIRG and Consumer Reports, 93% of doctors polled said they were concerned about the practice of using antibiotics on healthy animals for growth promotion and disease prevention. In addition, 85% of doctors polled said that in the last year, one or more of their patients had a presumed or confirmed case of a drug-resistant infection.
IT’S TIME FOR ACTION ON ANTIBIOTIC OVERUSE
Large farming operations and the drug industry have resisted change, and have so far blocked efforts in Congress and from government agencies. That's why we're bringing together citizens, families, farmers, doctors and members of the medical community to convince big restaurants to pressure these farms to change their practices.
BIG FARMS & RESTAURANTS NEED TO DO THEIR PART
In March 2015, we helped convince McDonald’s to stop serving chicken raised on our life-saving medicines. Shortly after, Tyson Foods, a major chicken producer and McDonald's supplier, followed suit. Then, in October, we convinced Subway, with more restaurants than any other chain in the United States, to make a commitments to stop serving any meat raised on antibiotics, starting with chicken by the end of 2016.
These were huge victories to protect public health, but now, other major chains need to take action. That's why we're focusing on KFC — the largest chain of fried chicken restaurants in the world.
KFC recently took a step in the right direction by updating their antibiotics policy, but it's not strong enough to fully protect our life-saving medicines. KFC needs to go further — and if they do, it could lead to a majority of the U.S. chicken industry raising their chickens without medically-important antibiotics.
Unsurprisingly, the industry is fighting back, trying to confuse consumers with misleading arguments about whether these commitments mean sick animals won't get treatment. But we know that's not true, and not the problem here. The problem is that farms are giving antibiotics to animals in their daily feed as a preventative measure — not just to treat sick animals. That's why our call is for meat raised without the routine use of antibiotics.
With thousands of Americans dying, and millions more getting sick from antibiotic-resistant infections every year, it's time for more chains to follow the lead of Subway, McDonald's, and many others.
If we don’t take decisive action soon, we could face a world in which life-saving antibiotics no longer work. This is why we need your help today.
Car seats are supposed to keep our youngest children safe. But though they may protect infants and toddlers during accidents, car seats have a history of containing toxic flame-retardant chemicals.
That’s finally changing.
Today, a coalition of groups including U.S. PIRG Education Fund and the Ecology Center’s “Healthy Stuff” program released test results on car seats in a new report, Hidden Hazards:Flame Retardants and PFAS in Children’s Car Seats. The authors collaborated with researchers from Indiana University and the University of Notre Dame.
King Bio Inc. issued the second significant voluntary recall since late July of their homeopathic drugs on Wednesday. Safety concerns over homeopathic drugs extend beyond King Bio as over the past several years, the FDA has issued recalls to several companies for a variety of health products from zinc-containing intranasal medicine to asthma drugs with toxic ingredients.
Today, a jury ruled against the chemical company Monsanto, awarding $289 million in damages to Dewayne Johnson, a former school groundskeeper who said he got terminal cancer from Monsanto’s best-selling weedkiller Roundup.
With this Safer School Supplies: Shopping Guide, parents, teachers, and students can make more informed decisions while shopping for school supplies this Back to School season. We want to give parents and teachers the option to choose school supplies that do not contain toxic chemicals. This Shopping Guide should serve as a handy tool for finding products free of several types of toxic chemicals.
We conducted laboratory tests for toxic chemicals in popular school supplies. Researchertested markers (washable and dry-erase), crayons, glue (liquid and sticks), spiral notebooks, rulers, 3-ring binders, lunchboxes, and water bottles for toxic chemicals such as lead, asbestos, phthalates, BTEX compounds (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene), and bisphenol-A (BPA). We purchased the supplies from across the country at a wide variety of stores including big box stores, dollar stores, drug stores, online retailers, and arts and crafts stores.
Federal judge found sufficient evidence to move to trial hundreds of lawsuits alleging that Monsanto Co.’s glyphosate-containing weed-killer Roundup causes cancer.
Tools & Resources
Read the Health Insurance 101 guide below, or download the PDF here.NJPIRG Law & Policy Center
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