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Chlorine: it’s supposed to protect us, right?

A study presented at the American Chemical Society March 24 found that use of chlorine  in wastewater treatment seems to be failing to remove antibiotics, which are proving not to be easily biodegradable. It may also be creating stronger antibiotics that, when released into the environment, may further antibiotic resistance.

 In the study, chemical interaction between a common antibiotic, doxycycline, and chlorine in wastewater treatment was tested, and the finding was that even stronger compounds were created. The study recommended even stronger regulations for antibiotic disposal, including separate collection and incineration.

Another Deecember 2014 study suggests that drug-resistant superbugs have the capability to kill 10 million people a year, and cost our global economy up to $100 trillion by 2050 if it goes unchecked,  The possible death toll is more than annual deaths from cancer, which stand at 8.2 million a year.

quote Antimicrobial-resistant infections currently claim at least 50,000 lives each year across Europe and the U.S. alone, with many hundreds of thousands more dying in other areas of the world.
– Jim O’Neill Economist, lead author


The study looked at the potential impact of 6 common infections: 3 bacterial infections including drug resistant E. coli, malaria, HIV and tuberculosis. Advances to manage malaria and HIV could be reversed, with these diseases once again spiraling out of control.

quote Without urgent, coordinated action by many stakeholders, the world is headed for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill.– Dr. Keiji Fukuda, World Health Organization (WHO)

The WHO also published a report on April 30, 2014, on antimicrobial/antibiotic resistance.
In it, it says that people should take greater care to prevent infections and that measures are needed to change how antibiotics are manufactured, prescribed and taken.

In the US alone, drug-resistant bacteria kills 23,000 people a year. That’s roughly the same as the number killed by flu.

A March 27, 2014 CDC study said, that 722,000 people received infections in hospitals in the U.S. in 2011, or one in every 25 patients. Clostridium difficile, a potentially fatal bacterial infection, was the most common cause of infections.

quote Sometimes in an effort to ‘do whatever it takes’ to fight a serious infection, clinicians use multiple antibiotics to treat the same infection. This practice can contribute to antimicrobial resistance, put patient safety at risk and increase costs.– Leslie Schultz, RN, PhD.

If death isn’t scary, the cost is beyond belief. Excessive antibiotic use has led to $163 million in extra medical care costs,plus contributing to bacteria resistance and unnecessary but potentially dangerous treatments.

So what has been done, and what can we do? Basically, some reports have been written, but the problem of infiltration of our water supply with myriad forms of drug wastes has not been confronted, I assume because the whole question of maintaining the present water supply infrastructure is so big that it’s a political hot potato. The estimated costs of repair and upgrade boggle the mind, yet without repair and upgrade of water reticulation, advanced filtration of the sort required is simply not viable.

Once again, we see that action must be taken personally. Good water filtration systems are available and relatively economical, especially when compared with the costs we see as a result of not doing anything.



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