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E-M:/ CAFOs, Antibiotics and Water Quality

Enviro-Mich message from "Anne Woiwode" <anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org>

With Michigan hold firm to its "worst in the nation" regulatory scheme for
dealing with waste from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO), the
below story from Iowa should give SIGNIFICANT pause to those who think a
little manure won't hurt you.  I have excerpted the first two paragraphs,
but the summary of the article was written by David Wallinga of the
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy in Minnesota.

No doubt, the advocates of laisez-faire regarding CAFOs in Michigan will
just suggest we should pass that swill!

Antibiotics contaminate Iowa waters
Register Staff Writer
 Antibiotics fed to livestock and applied to crop fields in manure are
washing into streams, where scientists fear they are contributing to a rise
in antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Health experts fear that people will get sick when they drink untreated
water or go fishing, canoeing or swimming. People could touch contaminated
water, then put their fingers in their mouths.


(summary from David Wallinga)
This article reports that researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey
are going to present data today in Ames that is expected to
include information about tests that found antibiotics in
livestock manure and in streams in Iowa.

"We view this as an emerging issue primarily because we don't know much
about it," said Richard Kelley, a longtime water-quality researcher at the
University of Iowa Hygienic Laboratory's office in Des Moines. "It has the
potential to be a serious problem."

The article notes the recent Union of Concerned Scientists' report, Hogging
that estimates more than half of the drugs fed to apparently healthy
livestock are the same types used on humans.

It notes that scientists worry that the growing use of antibiotics by people
cause problems, but that many researchers are more concerned about the
drugs' use on livestock. People generally take the drugs only when they are
sick, but farmers routinely feed antibiotics to healthy livestock.
"We would like to see farmers not use antibiotics on healthy animals for
nontherapeutic reasons," the article quotes Dr. Wallinga of the
Minneapolis-based Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.

It finishes with a quote from L.D. McMullen, general manager
of Des Moines Water Works, who said residents may face a health
a risk if a treatment plant fail, even for a short time, and water therefore
weren't being chlorinated. "Maybe we are generating superbugs
in streams that are going to be very difficult to treat," he said.

McMullen, who has led national  committees that recommend water-quality
said that only 5 percent to 10 percent of all microbes have been
identified. He worries about what could be breeding in an antibiotic-laced

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