Tag Archives: Antibiotics

Antibiotics Contamination a Threat to Humans and the Environment

Science Daily recently wrote an article about a research group from the University of Gothenburg who are working towards uncovering the effects of antibiotics that are ending up back in our oceans even after consumption. Though there are many research teams already studying effects of antibiotics in the fish we eat, or in the other foods we ingest, the actual study of what happens to the antibiotics once they have gone through our animals and bodies has yet to be defined. According to this study, 10,000 tons of antibiotics are consumed every year in Europe alone, and 30-60% pass through unaltered and are still active antibiotics, only to be discarded as waste. These substances containing antibiotics are reaching the ocean via municipal sewage, fish farms, hospitals, and run off from agriculture and landfills. Even substances that are not directly discharged into the sea eventually find their way back there by land and air through means of rainwater. This Swedish research group has been documenting seabeds in the polluted waters of Sweden, as well as the pristine waters of Greenland, and the highly unfiltered polluted waters in Greenland. These comparisons are perfect for looking at different environments to see what a natural microbial structure in the ocean should be, with what pollution and the introduction of antibiotics creates. Looking at the presence of antibiotics in our oceans where we continue to fish for food is both important, and worrying because over time this could change the marine environment by causing resistance genes in oceanic bacteria that could change fish, as well as harm the people who consume them.