Wednesday, April 23, 2014

FDA Fails to Protect Against Antibiotic Resistance, Guarantees More Needless Death and Suffering

English: Hinterzarten, Black Forest: young fem...
. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Dr. Mercola
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria infect two million Americans every year, causing at least 23,000 deaths. Even more die from complications related to the infections, and the numbers are steadily growing.
It's now clear that we are facing the perfect storm to take us back to the pre-antibiotic age, when some of the most important advances in modern medicineintensive care, organ transplants, care for premature babies, surgeries and even treatment for many common bacterial infections – will no longer be possible.
Experts have been warning about the implications of antibiotic resistance for years, but it's time to face the facts. Many strains of bacteria are becoming resistant to even our strongest antibiotics and are causing deadly infections.
The bacteria are capable of evolving much faster than we are. Secondly, drug companies have all but abandoned the development of new antibiotics because of their poor profit margins.

Antibiotic Resistance: How Did This Happen?

Antibiotic overuse and inappropriate use – such as taking antibiotics to treat viral infections -- bears a heavy responsibility for creating the antibiotic-resistant superbug crisis we are facing today.
According to Dr. Arjun Srinivasan, associate director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as much as half of all antibiotics used in clinics and hospitals "are either unneeded or patients are getting the wrong drugs to treat their infections."1
There's more to the story than this, however, as antibiotic overuse occurs not just in medicine, but also in food production. In fact, agricultural usage accounts for about80 percent of all antibiotic use in the US,2 so it's a MAJOR source of human antibiotic consumption.
Nearly 25 million pounds of antibiotics are administered to livestock in the US every year for purposes other than treating disease, such as making the animals grow bigger faster.
In other parts of the world, such as the EU, adding antibiotics to animal feed to accelerate growth has been banned for years. The antibiotic residues in meat and dairy, as well as the resistant bacteria, are passed on to you in the foods you eat.
Eighty different antibiotics are allowed in cows' milk. According to the CDC, 22 percent of antibiotic-resistant illness in humans is in fact linked to food.3 In the words of Dr. Srinivasan:
"The more you use an antibiotic, the more you expose a bacteria to an antibiotic, the greater the likelihood that resistance to that antibiotic is going to develop. So the more antibiotics we put into people, we put into the environment, we put into livestock, the more opportunities we create for these bacteria to become resistant."
This is a much bigger issue than antibiotics simply being left behind in your meat. For instance, bacteria often share genes that make them resistant. In other words, the drug-resistant bacteria that contaminates your meat may pass on their resistant genes to other bacteria in your body, making you more likely to become sick.  
Drug-resistant bacteria also accumulate in manure that is spread on fields and enters waterways, allowing the drug-resistant bacteria to spread far and wide and ultimately back up the food chain to us. You can see how easily antibiotic resistance spreads, via the food you eat and community contact, in the CDC's infographic below.
Source:, Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2013

One-Third of the Most Dangerous Resistant Pathogens Are Found in Your Food

According to the CDC's report, there are 12 resistant pathogens that pose a "serious" threat to public health. One-third of them are found in food. The four drug-resistant pathogens in question are:
  • Campylobacter, which causes an estimated 310,000 infections and 28 deaths per year
  • Salmonella, responsible for another 100,000 infections and 38 deaths annually
  • E. coli
  • Shigella
Previous research suggested you have a 50/50 chance of buying meat tainted with drug-resistant bacteria when you buy meat from your local grocery store.4 But it may be even worse. Using data collected by the federal agency called NARMS (National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System), the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found antibiotic-resistant bacteria in 81 percent of ground turkey, 69 percent of pork chops, 55 percent of ground beef, and 39 percent of raw chicken parts purchased in stores in 2011. EWG nutritionist and the report's lead researcher, Dawn Undurraga, issued the following warning to the public:5
"Consumers should be very concerned that antibiotic-resistant bacteria are now common in the meat aisles of most American supermarkets... These organisms can cause foodborne illnesses and other infections. Worse, they spread antibiotic-resistance, which threatens to bring on a post-antibiotic era where important medicines critical to treating people could become ineffective."

What Happens When a Country Takes Its Livestock Off Antibiotics?

In the US, concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are hotbeds for breeding antibiotic-resistant bacteria because of the continuous feeding of low doses of antibiotics to the animals, who become living bioreactors for pathogens to survive, adapt, and eventually, thrive. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) ruled that antibiotic resistance is a major threat to public health, worldwide, and the primary cause for this man-made epidemic is the widespread misuse of antibiotics.6
Measures to curb the rampant overuse of agricultural antibiotics could have a major impact in the US, as evidenced by actions taken in other countries. For example, Denmark stopped the widespread use of antibiotics in their pork industry 14 years ago. The European Union has also banned the routine use of antibiotics in animal feed over concerns of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
After Denmark implemented the antibiotic ban, it was later confirmed the country had drastically reduced antibiotic-resistant bacteria in their animals and food. Furthermore, the Danish 'experiment' proved that removing antibiotics doesn't have to hurt the industry's bottom line. In the first 12 years of the ban, the Danish pork industry grew by 43 percent -- making it one of the top exporters of pork in the world. As reported by Consumer Reports:7
"What happens when a country takes its livestock off antibiotics? In 2000 Denmark's pork industry ceased using antibiotics to promote the growth of its animals. Instead of eviscerating the nation's pork industry, those moves contributed to a 50 percent rise in pork production, according to a 2012 article in the journal Nature.8
Frank Aarestrup, D.V.M., Ph.D., head of the EU Reference Laboratory for Antimicrobial Resistance and author of the article, attributes Denmark's success to three factors: laws banning the improper use of antibiotics, a robust system of surveillance and enforcement, and rules that prevent veterinarians from profiting from selling antibiotics to farmers.'Farmers and their livestock can thrive without the heavy use of antibiotics,' Aarestrup wrote. 'With a little effort, I believe that other countries can and must help their farmers to do the same.'"

What's Standing in the Way of Curbing Antibiotic Use in the US?

In a word, industry. For instance, the American Pork Industry doesn't want to curb antibiotic use, as this would mean raising the cost of producing pork by an estimated $5 for every 100 pounds of pork brought to market. The pharmaceutical industry is obviously against it as well. Even though they're not keen on producing new antibiotics to bring to the market, they want to protect those that are already here – especially those incredibly lucrative varieties that are used perpetually in animal feed. Even Dr. Aarestrup, who helped Denmark cut the use of antibiotics in livestock by 60 percent, wrote about the intense industry pressures he faced:9
"Reducing Denmark's reliance on antibiotics was far from easy. My lab was visited by pharmaceutical executives who did not like what we were finding, and I would be cornered at meetings by people who disagreed with our conclusions. I have even been publicly accused of being paid to produce biased results. Despite such challenges, it has been satisfying to see that Danish farmers and their livestock can thrive without the heavy use of antibiotics. …The practice continues unabated in the United States, despite a statement from the Food and Drug Administration [FDA]… suggesting that farmers should stop voluntarily."

FDA Again Fails to Take Appropriate Action on Agricultural Antibiotics

The FDA issued its long-awaited guidance on agricultural antibiotics on December 11, 2013.10 Unfortunately, it's unlikely to have a major impact in terms of protecting your health. The agency is simply asking drug companies to voluntarily restrict the use of antibiotics that are important in human medicine by excluding growth promotion in animals as a listed use on the drug label.11This would prevent farmers from legally using antibiotics such as tetracyclines, penicillins, and azithromycin for growth promotion purposes. But it certainly does not go far enough to protect public health. The guidance contains far too many loopholes for any meaningful protection.
For example, farmers would still be allowed to use antibiotics for therapeutic purposes, which would allow them to continue feeding their animals antibiotics for growth promotion without actually admitting that's the reason for doing so. As reported byScientific American:12
"[T]he success of the FDA's new program depends on how many companies volunteer to change their labels over the next 90 days in alignment with the FDA cutoff period. (Companies that do change their labels will have three years to phase in the changes.) And then there are myriad questions about how this would be enforced on the farm."
In short, while giving the superficial appearance of taking warranted action to protect public health, the reality is that they're simply shills for the industry. Michael Taylor,13 FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine, and former VP for public policy at Monsanto, is again responsible for caving in to industry at the expense of human lives.

Why Did FDA Ignore Risk Factors from the Very Beginning?

According to a recent report14 from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the FDA has known that using antibiotics in factory farms is harmful to human health for over a dozen years, yet it took no action to curb its use. And now, all they're doing is asking drug companies, who make massive amounts of money from these products, to voluntary restrict their use.
The report also found that 26 of the 30 drugs reviewed by the FDA did not meet safety guidelines issued in 1973, and NONE of the 30 drugs would meet today's safety guidelines... As reported by Rodale Magazine,15 the FDA is supposed to look at three factors when determining the safety of an antibiotic-based feed additive. Based on the three factors listed below, the NRDC's report16 concluded that virtually ALL feed additives containing penicillin and tetracycline antibiotics—both of which are used to treat human disease—pose a "high risk" to human health, and should not be permitted:
  1. The chances that antibiotic-resistant bacteria are being introduced into the food supply
  2. The likelihood that people would get exposed to those bacteria
  3. The consequences of what happens when people are exposed to those bacteria—would they still be able to get treated with human antibiotics?

Looking on the Brighter Side

The impending superbug crisis has a three-prong solution:
  1. Better infection prevention, with a focus on strengthening your immune system naturally
  2. More responsible use of antibiotics for people and animals, with a return to biodynamic farming and a complete overhaul of our food system
  3. Innovative new approaches to the treatment of infections from all branches of science, natural as well as allopathic
There are some promising new avenues of study that may result in fresh ways to fight superbugs. For example, Dutch scientists have discovered a way to deactivate antibiotics with a blast of ultraviolet light before bacteria have a chance to adapt, and before the antibiotics can damage your good bacteria.17
And British scientists have discovered how bacteria talk to each other through "quorum signaling" and are investigating ways of disrupting this process in order to render them incapable of causing an infection. They believe this may lead to a new line of anti-infectives that do not kill bacteria, but instead block their ability to cause disease.18 But the basic strategy that you have at your disposal right now is prevention, prevention, prevention—it's much easier to prevent an infection than to halt one already in progress.
Natural compounds with antimicrobial activity such as garliccinnamonoregano extract, colloidal silverManuka honey, probiotics and fermented foodsechinacea, sunlight and vitamin D are all excellent options to try before resorting to drugs. Best of all, research has shown that bacteria do not tend to develop resistance to these types of treatments. The basic key to keeping your immune system healthy is making good lifestyle choices such as proper diet, stress management and exercise.

You Can Take Action to Help Save Antibiotics from Extinction

Avoiding antibiotic-resistance is but one of several good reasons to avoid meats and animal products from animals raised in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). This is in part why grass-fed pastured meat is the only type of meat I recommend. If you're regularly eating meat bought at your local grocery store, know that you're in all likelihood getting exposed to antibiotic-resistant bacteria and a low dose of antibiotics with every meal... and this low-dose exposure is what's allowing bacteria to adapt and develop such strong resistance.
The FDA's stance toward antibiotics in livestock feed is unconscionable in light of the harm it wreaks, and its weakness makes being proactive on a personal level all the more important. Quite simply, the FDA has been, and still is, supporting the profitability of large-scale factory farming at the expense of public health.
You can help yourself and your community by using antibiotics only when absolutely necessary and by purchasing organic, antibiotic-free meats and other foods from local farmers – not CAFOs. Even though the problem of antibiotic resistance needs to be stemmed through public policy on a nationwide level, the more people who get involved on a personal level to stop unnecessary antibiotic use the better. You can help on a larger scale, too, by telling the FDA we need a mandatory ban on sub-therapeutic doses of antibiotics for livestock—not weak, voluntary guidance.
FDA Deputy Commissioner and ex-Monsanto attorney Michael Taylor will leave quite a legacy behind. He's not only served Monsanto and the other pesticide producers quite well, he seems to carry the same sentiment over to the antiobiotic crisis. The FDA claims that a voluntary guideline "is the most efficient and effective way to change the use of these products in animal agriculture." It would appear that Taylor's concern for human health takes a very distant back seat to industry profits...
To make  your voice heard, please sign the Organic Consumer's Association's petition, calling for a mandatory ban on sub-therapeutic doses of antibiotics for livestock.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Free Mp3 Music, Color of Music by Ronny Matthes, Classical Music

Inicio de Asturias (Leyenda), de Isaac Albéniz
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Classical music to help relax the nerves.  Nothing harsh or aggressive.  Just simple music to take the edge off of your day.  Check out the tracks.  Download whatever you like or download the entire album for free.  Share with your friends.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Is General Motors Covering Up Serious Ignition Switch Issues?

The Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Bu...
The Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building in Washington, D.C., headquarters of the United States Department of Justice. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You may have seen in the news that General Motors is being investigated for a massive cover-up of a serious flaw in some of its cars: The ignition switches sometimes turn off while driving, shutting down the cars' power steering, brakes, and airbags. I believe this flaw and this cover-up is why my cousin Sarah is dead.Now I am fighting to get her justice.

My cousin Sarah was one of the sweetest, most caring people I knew. She was a freshman in college, and her dream was to be a pediatric cardiologist. But one morning in 2009, as Sarah was driving home to see her new puppy, her car veered off the road and hit a tree. We thought she might have fallen asleep behind the wheel, but then we learned her car should have been recalled and may have shut off while she was driving. Her airbag never deployed. She didn't have a chance.

Congress and the Department of Justice are investigating GM's massive cover-up, which caused the deaths of at least 13 people. Cases like this often result in monetary settlements, but I think it's ridiculous that the people responsible for so many deaths could come away with no consequences whatsoever.

According to the investigations happening now, GM first became aware of the problem with their ignition switches in 2001. The first reported death occurred in 2005, which prompted a Congressional investigation, but still, cars like Sarah's remained on the road. We recently found out that Sarah's car was one of 2.6 million that should have been recalled.

The faulty part in the GM cars cost only 57 cents to replace. Instead of spending a measly 57 cents, GM was willing to let my cousin Sarah and at least 13 other people die.

GM is far from the only company to have done something like this -- in fact, the government just completed a similar yearlong investigation of Toyota. But these investigations almost never lead to criminal charges, which is why corporations keep behaving this way. This time, for Sarah and the other victims, things will be different. This time, the people who caused their deaths will have to answer for what they did.

Karlie Brighton Yarbrough
Jacksonville, Florida
Enhanced by Zemanta

Broke, A Man Without A Dime

English: Homeless man, Tokyo. Français : Un sa...
English: Homeless man, Tokyo  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Broke; A Man Without A Dime, Free eBook from Chuck Thompson


I was born on the 28th day of April, 1857, in the village of Port Byron, Rock Island County, Illinois. The waves of the grand old Mississippi sang my lullaby through a long and joyful childhood. So near at hand was the stream that I learned to swim and skate almost before I was out of kilts. My father, A. J. Brown, at that time was the leading merchant and banker in the town. We were an exceedingly happy and prosperous family of six.
My father died when I was seven years of age. My mother, a woman of exceptionally brilliant intellect and lovable character, has been with or near me almost all my life. She died in 1909 at the ripe age of eighty-four.
When a boy in my teens I attended school in Boston, where I spent four years. In the early eighties I moved to Colorado and have lived there ever since. In 1897 I was married, and the intense interest and sympathy my wife has shown in my crusade for the homeless has been one of my greatest encouragements. With no children for company, it has meant a great sacrifice on her part, for it broke up our home and voluntarily separated us for nearly two years.
I have often wondered why I should have been the one to make this crusade, for all my life I have loved solitude, and have always been over-sensitive to the criticism and opinions of others. My mission is not based upon any personal virtue of goodness, but I have been inspired with the feeling that I had taken up a just and righteous cause, and the incentive of all my efforts has ever been that of compassion—not to question whether a hungry man has sinned against society, but to ask why he is not supplied with the necessities of existence.[A]
I am trying to solve these questions: Are our efforts to help the unfortunate through the medium of our “Charities,” our “Missions,” and our churches all failures? Why is crime rampant in our cities? Why are our hospitals, almshouses, our jails, and our prisons crowded to overflowing? And these questions have resolved themselves for me into one mighty problem: Why is there destitution at all,—why is there poverty and suffering amidst abundance and plenty?
I am convinced that poverty is not a part of the great Eternal plan. It is a cancerous growth that human conventions have created and maintained. I believe it was intended that every human being should have food and shelter. Therefore I have not only asked “Why?” but I have tried to find the remedy. My crusade has been constructive and not destructive.
My mission is not to censure but to disclose facts. I am without political or economic bias.
I shall ask my reader to go with me and see for himself the conditions existing in our great cities,—to view the plight of the homeless, penniless wayfarer, who, because of the shortsightedness of our municipalities, is denied his right to decent, wholesome food and to sanitary shelter for a night. And my concern is not only the homeless man, but the homeless woman, for there are many such who walk our streets, and often with helpless babes at their breasts and little children at their sides. And after my reader has comprehended the condition that I shall reveal to him, I shall ask him to enlist himself in the cause of a Twentieth Century Free Municipal Emergency Home in every city, that shall prove our claims to righteousness and enlightenment.
To-day there is everywhere a growing sense of and demand for political, social, and economic justice; there is a more general and definite aim to elevate the condition of the less fortunate of our fellow-citizens; there are united efforts of scientific investigators to discover and create a firm foundation for practical reforms. I am simply trying to show the way to one reform that is practical, feasible, and—since the test of everything is the dollar—good business.
If I can succeed in showing that old things are often old only because they are traditional; that in evolution of new things lies social salvation; that the “submerged tenth” is submerged because of ignorance and low wages; and that the community abounds in latent ability only awaiting the opportunity for development,—then this volume will have accomplished its purpose.
I am determined to create a systematic and popular sympathy for the great mass of unfortunate wage-earners, who are compelled by our system of social maladjustment to be without food, clothing, and shelter. I am determined our city governments shall recognize the necessity for relief.
Let me not be misunderstood as handing out a bone, for an oppressive system. “It is more Godly to prevent than to cure.”
In these pages I shall undertake to show by many actual cases that the so-called “hobo,” “bum,” “tramp,” “vagrant,” “floater,” “vagabond,” “idler,” “shirker,” “mendicant,”—all of which terms are applied indiscriminately to the temporarily out-of-work man,—the wandering citizen in general, and even many so-called criminals, are not what they are by choice any more than you or I are what we are socially, politically, and economically, from choice.
I shall call attention to the nature and immensity of the problem of the unemployed and the wandering wage-earner, as such problem confronts and affects every municipality.
We find the migratory wage-earner, the wandering citizen, at certain seasons traveling in large numbers to and from industrial centers in search of work. Most of these wandering wage-earners have exhausted their resources when they arrive at their destination, and are penniless—“broke.” Because of the lack of the price to obtain a night’s lodging, or food, or clothing, they are compelled to shift as best they may, and some are forced to beg, and others to steal.
For the protection and good morals of society in general, for the safety of property, it is necessary that every municipality maintain its own Municipal Emergency Home, in which the migratory worker, the wandering citizen, can obtain pure and wholesome food to strengthen his body, enliven his spirit, and imbue him with new energy for the next day’s task in his hunt for work. It is necessary that in such Municipal Emergency Home the wanderer shall receive not only food and shelter, but it is of vital importance that he shall be enabled to put himself into presentable condition before leaving.
The purpose of each Municipal Emergency Home, as advocated in this volume, is to remove all excuse for beggary and other petty misdemeanors that follow in the wake of the homeless man. The Twentieth Century Municipal Emergency Home must afford such food and lodging as to restore the health and courage and self-respect of every needy applicant, free medical service, advice, moral and legal, and help to employment; clothing, given whenever necessary, loaned when the applicant needs only to have his own washed; and free transportation to destination wherever employment is offered. The public will then be thoroughly protected. The homeless man will be kept clean, healthy, and free from mental and physical suffering. The naturally honest but weak man will not be driven into crime. Suffering and want, crime and poverty will be reduced to a minimum.
In looking over the field of social betterment, we find that America is far behind the rest of the civilized world in recognizing the problems of modern social adjustment. We find that England, Germany, Austria, France, Switzerland, Sweden and Norway, and other nations have progressed wonderfully in their system of protecting their wandering citizens. All these nations have provided their wage earners with old-age pensions, out-of-work funds, labor colonies, insurance against sickness, labor exchanges, and municipal lodging houses.
Because of the manifest tendency to extend the political activities of society and government to the point where every citizen is provided by law with what is actually necessary to maintain existence, I advocate a divorce between religious, private, and public charities, and sincerely believe that it is the duty of the community, and of society as a whole, to administer to the needs of its less fortunate fellow-citizens. Experience with the various charitable activities of the city, State, and nation, has proven conclusively to me that every endeavor to ameliorate existing conditions ought to be, and rightly is, a governmental function, just as any other department in government, such as police, health, etc. The individual cannot respect society and its laws, if society does not in return respect and recognize the emergency needs of its less fortunate individuals. Popular opinion, sentiment, prejudice, and even superstitions, are often influential in maintaining the present-day hypocritical custom of indiscriminate alms giving, which makes possible our deplorable system of street mendicancy.
The object of the personal investigation and experiences presented in this volume is to lay down principles and rules for the guidance and conduct of the institution which it advocates.
The reader has a right to ask: How does this array of facts show to us the way to a more economical use of private and public gifts to the needy? Are there any basic rules which will help to solve the problem of mitigating the economic worth of the temporary dependent? I shall give ample answers to these queries.
In the hope that the facts here presented may bring to my reader a sense of the great work waiting to be done, and may move him to become an individual influence in the movement for building and conducting Twentieth Century Municipal Emergency Homes throughout our land, I offer this volume in a spirit of good-will and civic fellowship.
E. A. B.
Denver, September, 1913.
Enhanced by Zemanta