Global warming and our
"absurd over-dependence on carbon-based fuels" is interconnected with
the looming economic and national security crises said former US Vice President
Al Gore to an overflow audience at the American Association for the Advancement
of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Chicago in February.
It's also connected to
the rise in antibiotic resistant strains of deadly sea-born bacteria said
scientists at the AAAS meeting whose theme was global warming this year.
Seafood collected from
three locations on the US southeast coast showed striking levels of
Vibrio parahaemolyticus, related to cholera and Vibrio
which can kill in 72 hours, reported Ramunas Stephanauskas, PhD
from the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Science in West Boothbay Harbor, ME at a
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) sponsored event.
The increasing risk of
Death on the Half Shell --the Vibrios showed resistance to most common
antibiotics like aminoglycosides, tetracyclines and cephalosporins--is caused
by a coastal water toxic soup of metal contamination and livestock runoff
potentiated by global warming said Stephanauskas.
Nor do you want to
bathe in the water, said Lisa Plano, MD a pediatrician and microbiologist with
the University of Miami's Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine at the same
Research that Plano
and her University of Miami colleagues conducted on public beaches that had no
sewage source found adults and babies who started out MRSA and MSSA-free (
Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus
and Methicillin sensitive
aureus, respectively) ended up with the micro organisms in their bodies
after exposure to sand and water!
developing resistance so quickly to the arsenal of human antibiotics, Plano
began her lecture with a cartoon of "graduating" microbes being told
by their teacher, "You are the next class; go out and succeed!"
Once confined to
hospitals and medical settings, resistant bacteria are now rampant in schools,
locker rooms and the community and complicating treatment of HIV, TB,
campylobacter and diseases seen in returning Iraq war veterans said presenters.
The chief cause of
antibiotic resistance is agricultural use of antibiotics on factory farms to
promote animal growth and "prevent disease" say most science groups
including the Cambridge, MA-based Union of Concerned Scientists which was
present at the AAAS meeting.
But weeks after announcing
a ban on the widely used antibiotic cephalosporin last summer, the FDA quietly
reversed its decision after getting a trough full from agribusiness and pharma.
Even the hearings on
the Hill in September sponsored by the Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry flew under the public's radar. They were
termed a "review" of "advances in animal health within the
livestock industry." Advances? Hello?
Still the assemblage
of reps from the egg, chicken, turkey, milk, pork and cattle industries-- and
the Animal Health Institute which represents Monsanto, Pfizer, Dow, Bayer,
Wyeth, Novartis et al--left no doubt who is creating the toxic soup.
Up to 70 percent of
all dairy calves receive antibiotic-laced "milk replacer" and almost
all mature dairy cows receive antibiotic-laced "dry cow treatments,"
Robert D. Byrne, Senior Vice President, Scientific & Regulatory Affairs,
National Milk Producers in his You're-Going-To Ban-WHAT? presentation to the
A little antibiotic never hurt anyone said Blair Van Zetten on behalf of
United Egg Producers whose
related hatcheries were caught by the FDA injecting antibiotics directly into
eggs we eat. Or ate.
without antibiotics "would increase the incidence of illness," whined
Dr. Michael Ryblot, Director, Scientific & Regulatory Affairs,
National Turkey Federation, who called a typical 227-acre turkey farm
"small." And it would eat profits!
More land would be needed if birds couldn't be crammed together and more
food since animals "grow"
with less on antibiotics, said Ryblot.
In fact, when you
think of the extra
crop land required to
produce more food and the
extra manure that would result
, antibiotic-laced factory farming is
downright ecological, he said.
Maybe he should have
spoken at the AAAS global warming meeting.
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