From: Center for Biological Diversity
Published May 10, 2017 12:10 PM

EPA Asked to Reject Expanded Use of Medically Important Antibiotic on Citrus Crops

The Center for Biological Diversity and Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future today asked the Environmental Protection Agency to reject a pesticide company’s request to permanently approve the use of a medically important antibiotic called oxytetracycline as a herbicide on citrus crops.

The antibiotics oxytetracycline and streptomycin are critical to protecting human health worldwide. But the EPA recently granted an emergency exemption allowing their use as pesticides to suppress citrus greening disease in Florida. NuFarm Americas Inc. then requested that the EPA permanently “register” oxytetracycline to approve its ongoing use as a pesticide product on crops like grapefruits, oranges and tangerines. The comment period for this request closes today. 

“Since tens of thousands of people are dying every year as a result of antibiotic-resistant infections, it’s outrageous that the EPA is allowing, and may even expand, the use of antibiotics as pesticides,” said Hannah Connor, a senior attorney at the Center. “This is a careless, shortsighted practice that contributes to the reduced effectiveness of these drugs.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that more than 2 million people are infected with antibiotic-resistant organisms each year, leading to an estimated 23,000 deaths.

Read more at Center for Biological Diversity

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