Antibiotics and Environmental Health
Antibiotics, resistant bacteria, and antibiotic resistance genes reach the environment through a variety of routes, including antibiotic use in human and animal health settings, home antibiotic use by patients with prescriptions, use of antibiotics to treat food production animals, application of antibiotics on plant agriculture, and use of antibiotics in a variety of industrial processes.
Currently, little is known about the importance of antibiotics, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, or antibiotic resistance genes that are detected in the environment. However, there is considerable concern about the impact of environmental contaminants on overall emergence of antibiotic resistance and human health.
- The Scientist: The Flow of Pharmaceuticals (JPG)
An image depicting the flow of pharmaceuticals.
- MPCA: Medication Disposal Toolkit
Use the “Take it to the Box Toolkit” to show your commitment to proper medication disposal! MPCA has a downloadable collection of logos, designed templates, and graphics that will help your community provide a safe medication drop-off program.
- MPCA: Dispose of Unwanted Medications
Use this searchable map to find a medication collection site near you. Most collection bins are located indoors and accessible during normal business hours.
- MPCA: Managing Unwanted Medications
Studies show that medicines flushed down the drain can contaminate our lakes and streams, which can hurt fish and other aquatic wildlife, and end up in our drinking water.
Presence of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance in the environment
- Minnesota Fact Sheet: Antibiotics and the Environment: What You Should Know (PDF)
- MPCA: Chemistry of Modern Life Ends Up in Our Waters
- USGS: Antibiotics in Groundwater Affect Natural Bacteria
- USGS: Chemicals Found in Treated Wastewater are Transported from Streams to Groundwater
- USGS: Investigating the Environmental Effects of Agriculture Practices on Natural Resources (PDF)
- ScienceDirect: Antibiotics Pollution in Soil and Water: Potential Ecological and Human Health Issues
- MDPI: Designing Safer and Greener Antibiotics
- MDPI: Environmental and Public Health Implications of Water Reuse: Antibiotics, Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria, and Antibiotic Resistance Genes
- MDPI: Tracking Change: A Look at the Ecological Footprint of Antibiotics and Antimicrobial Resistance
Management and treatment options
- USGS: Wastewater Treatment Water Use
- World Bank: Water Resource Management
- EHP: Management Options for Reducing the Release of Antibiotics and Antibiotic Resistance Genes to the Environment
Learn more about antibiotic stewardship
- Current State Plan Progress and Data
- U of M CIDRAP Antimicrobial Stewardship Project
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