Environmental News Briefs

Antibiotic use expands to citrus

Antibiotic resistance in humans has been linked to overuse with livestock, but now the EPA is defying objections from both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration to allow widespread, systemic antibiotic use on citrus trees.

An antibiotic used to treat syphilis, tuberculosis and urinary tract infections among other human diseases is now being applied as a pesticide, according to The New York Times.

Since 2017, the EPA has allowed limited use of streptomycin and oxtetracycline on an emergency basis but is now expanding the allowed usage.

Both the EPA and CDC warn widespread use could spur mutations in germs that could threaten millions of lives.

The European Union has banned the use of both streptomycin and oxtetracycline for agricultural uses.

EPA eliminates funding for children’s health research centers

The EPA is cutting off funding to 13 research centers focused on children’s environmental health and disease prevention, according to a report in E&E News.

Critics view the move as part of President Trump’s efforts to undermine science that could lead to stricter environmental regulations.

Imperiled research centers include facilities at UCLA and Dartmouth College as well as Emory University where the center focuses on researching maternal health and preterm birthrates among African American women. Other centers study the long-term harm caused by pollution on child development.

Funding for these centers has been unique because it covers both research and public outreach to inform people of potential risks and protection strategies.

This is viewed as the latest move in the administration’s efforts to support chemical companies. The administration recently rejected a ban on the neurotoxic pesticide chlorpyrifos that is used in Central Illinois.

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