Irish Antibiotic Overuse Threatens Water Sources

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Ireland has abundant water resources but problems with the quality of water can cause illnesses or have a detrimental impact in humans. Problems with water quality may be caused by contamination with chemicals or microbes but there is a growing concern regarding contamination caused by human and farming activity. In recent decades, there has been widespread and increased usage of antibiotics (now measured in hundreds of tonnes per year in Ireland for people and animals). As antibiotics are used more widely, microbes have become increasingly resistant to them and antibiotic resistance is a worldwide public health emergency. Antibiotics can enter water sources from leaking domestic septic tanks, hospital effluent, intensive farms, ineffective waste water treatment plants, animal waste and slurry. For people living in the Golden Vale and other areas of Ireland with intensive dairy farms, pig farms or poultry farms where antibiotics are widely used in animal feed and for veterinary use, a home water filtration system will help ensure that drinking water is safe and free from antibiotic contamination. The latest Irish EPA report No 162 “Hospital effluent: impact on the microbial environment and risk to human health” details the threat to Irish water from antibiotic-resistant bacteria…Read More

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