German Advisory Council on the Environment: Start with antibiotics for the cause

03.07.2019 –

The introduction of antibiotics into the environment and the water masses must be reduced in order to limit the risks to the structure and functioning of natural microbial communities in the environment. This opinion was approved by the German Council of Environmental Advisers (SRU) in its report published in late June and forwarded to the Minister of the Environment, Svenja Schulze. special report "Democratically governed within the ecological limits – to the legitimacy of environmental policy" met, in which he devoted himself to antibiotic resistance as a case study.

According to the SRU, municipal wastewater or treatment with clinical influence are of particular importance for the entry of antibiotics and resistant bacteria into the water. The antibiotic resistance found in these areas differed significantly from those found in rural river basins. However, knowledge about the amounts of regionally differentiated antibiotics used in veterinary medicine is often insufficient due to incomplete data collection as well as lack of accessibility and treatment of appropriate data, writes the SRU.

Although a subsequent removal of antibiotic agents from the environment is partly possible, for example by additional methods of wastewater treatment; but they entail high infrastructure costs and do not start from the cause. The goal of the SRU should therefore be precisely to reduce the intake of antibiotics into the environment. Colonization and infection with multidrug-resistant bacteria in humans and animals should be kept as low as possible.

At present, there is no mandatory and comprehensive surveillance of antibiotics and resistance in the environment, notes the Council of Economic Experts. The Federal Environmental Agency (UBA) has already called for the adoption of appropriate measures for problematic active pharmaceutical ingredients. In addition to surveillance, drug approval plays another important role in regulation. The assessment of the risks of antibiotics to the environment is based on current legislation on medicinal products for human use and veterinary use.

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