HIGHTOWER: Antibiotics in Our Water

Meet a great American scientist by the name of Ashley Mulroy. She doesn't have a PhD, is not attached to a prestigious research university, and doesn't have a government or corporate grant to finance her work. Ashley is a high school student in Wheeling, West Virginia.

What she lacks in academic degrees and formal pedigrees, however, she more than makes up for in intellectual curiosity and scientific gumption -- all of which led her to make a remarkable discovery that's likely to have a profound effect on your and my health. USA Today reports that Ashley Mulroy has documented that America's water supply has become contaminated with antibiotics.

These are the drugs -- like penicillin and tetracycline -- that we count on to fight bacterial infection. If these bacteria-killing drugs are widely dispersed in places like our drinking water, the bacteria will quickly adapt to the drugs, creating species of "superbugs" that are immune to the antibiotics. This means that if you get infected by the "superbugs," the antibiotics won't work ... and you'll die.

When she was 15, Ashley Mulroy read an article about European water supplies being "drugged" with antibiotics. Hmmmm, she wondered, is our water drugged, too? With the help of her mom, she launched a 10-week science project taking water samples along several miles of the Ohio River near her hometown. Sure enough, she found antibiotics in the water, with the highest concentrations near dairy and livestock farms -- which use the antibiotics to help fatten their animals.

Ashley went further, testing tap water in Wheeling and nearby towns. Yep ... the antibiotics were coming out of the taps, including her own school's drinking fountain.

This is Jim Hightower saying ... 40 percent of the antibiotics used in America go not to humans, but simply to fatten livestock and fatten the profits of industrialized agribusiness. Let's listen to Ashley ... not agribusiness ... and ban this senseless use of antibiotics.


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