Overuse of Antibacterials and antibiotics stressing health and environment

The USGS found the anti-bacterial triclosan in 58% of freshwater streams, despite attempts by water municipalities to filter it out.  Article explains what triclosan is and what it does.

Triclosan is in antibacterial soaps, detergents, carpets, paints, toys, and toothpaste. These products can feel comforting to germ-wary consumers. However, these products are only slightly better at removing bacteria than regular soap and water. And in antibacterial soaps, triclosan may not add any benefit to removing bacteria compared to regular soap and water.
The problem with triclosan is that it kills both good and bad bacteria. Studies also show that it contributes to medically necessary antibiotics becoming less effective. Triclosan is also toxic to algae and disrupts hormones in animals. This can hamper normal animal development. The FDA is currently investigating its impact on humans.

American Society of Agronomy summarizes it this way:

Most U.S. homes are full of familiar household products with an ingredient that fights bacteria: triclosan. Most of the triclosan is removed in waste water treatment plants. However, a U.S. Geological Survey found the antibacterial in nearly 58% of freshwater streams. What does that mean for the food and soil irrigated with water from streams? As triclosan breaks down, it can turn into other harmful compounds. The breakdown of triclosan produces more effective hormone disruptors.

Washington Post report states that antibiotics are being overprescribed. From report:

Nearly a third of antibiotics prescribed in doctors’ offices, emergency rooms and hospital-based clinics in the United States are not needed, according to the most in-depth study yet to examine the use and misuse of these life-saving drugs.

The finding, which has implications for antibiotics’ diminished efficacy, translates to about 47 million unnecessary prescriptions given out each year across the country to children and adults. Most of these are for conditions that don’t respond to antibiotics, such as colds, sore throats, bronchitis, flu and other viral illnesses.

Overdosing livestock with antibiotics might be causing problems too. From Science News report:

Dung beetles (Aphodius fossor) make their living on cattle dung pats, which are rich in nutritious microbes. To investigate the effects of cattle antibiotics on this smaller scale, Tobin Hammer of the University of Colorado at Boulder and his colleagues studied the tiny communities around tetracycline-dosed and undosed cows. Compared with untreated cows’ dung, microbes in dung produced by treated cows were less diverse and dominated by a genus with documented resistance, the researchers report May 25 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Is there a ‘last resort’ antibiotic to wipe out drug resistant bacteria?

“The problem, scientists have been pointing out for years, is that people are taking antibiotics too frequently. More use means more opportunity for bacteria to develop resistance.”

Bacteria carry most of their genetic information in a tangle of DNA contained in chromosomes inside the cell. But tiny loops of DNA called plasmids hang around outside of the tangle. These loops carry extra information that bacteria can use, like how to protect themselves from antibiotics. Bacteria can swap plasmids like trading cards, effectively spreading instructions for antibiotic resistance.




Floods and solar coronal holes

It’s flooding down in Texas and up in Belgium, Germany, France and India. I wonder if the big, black blot NASA calls a coronal hole on the sun has anything to do with it? Or maybe it’s being churned up by Earth’s weakening electromagnetic fields. Of course, we’ve only studied our great solar charger spectrographically for maybe 50 years.

Historically, solar Maunder minimums have coincided with damp, cold weather on Earth. Could less sunlight correlate with weakening of Earth’s electromagnetic shield?

The connection between solar coronal mass ejections and auroras seen in the northern skies is obvious. Why are Earth’s ‘Van Allen belts’ only seen as magnetic fields? Why are auroras seen in the visible light spectrum not considered at all to be electrical? Lightening bolts are obviously electrically conductive on Earth, so why would there not be electricity conducted in space? It makes no sense to have magnetism without electricity, makes gravity really hard to define.

Thor news covers the floods.

“We’re all part of the Earth family,” Thor says and I concur.