Honeybees are not the only ones to succumb to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Humans are also experiencing a similar break down. That’s because both systemic pesticides and antibiotics obliterate immune systems respectively.
The overuse and abuse of antibiotics over the years has created an epidemic of resistance of colossal proportions. When we suppress our immune function, we make ourselves vulnerable to attack. One day soon, a simple cut on your finger may prove lethal.
In 20015, President Obama asked the congress to double funding to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Latest CDC numbers didn’t leave him a choice: 23,000 deaths and two million illnesses in the U.S. each year with a $55 billion cost.
From Magic Bullet To Lull And Disinterest
There are a few reasons why we have seen a lull in antibiotic development.
While antibiotics generate nearly $400 billion annually for Big Pharma, the more they’re used, the less effective they become. There’s no real incentive to develop more because it’s expensive; pharmaceutical companies spend $5 billion on averagein research and testing for each new medication they bring to market. According to HealthLine, 80 percent of the drugs emerging from labs fail in safety or efficacy testing, which means pharmaceutical companies need to recoup billions from each drug that comes to market.
Why create new antibiotics when you can make a lot more money on drugs that can be used regularly without losing effectiveness, such as antidepressants, statins, and anti-inflammatory medications. Certainly health for the people is not a driving force. Since 1998, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved about 11 new antibiotics.
“The development of new antibiotics without having mechanisms to insure their appropriate use is much like supplying your alcoholic patients with a finer brandy,” said Dr. Dennis Makiduring at an Infectious Disease Society of America meeting in 1998.
Obama’s Executive Order likely takes years to take active countermeasures against antibiotic proliferation. That leaves the responsibility up to us. We can clean up individually, with or without the antibiotic restrictions. Learn how.
Systemic Pesticides and Honey Bee Collapse
Systemic pesticides have both several acute and chronic effects on honey bees. They whittle down a honey bee’s immune systems, making it impossible for them to fight off disease or pathogens they normally could.
Small amounts of neonicotinoids—both alone and in combination with other pesticides—also impair communication, disorientation, decrease longevity, and disrupt brood cycles.
Conservationists, beekeepers, concerned citizens, and anti-pesticide pro-food-security nonprofits have urged President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency to take swift and meaningful action to protect honey bees and other pollinators from these toxic pesticides.
On June 20, 2014, President Obama issued a presidential memorandum calling for the creation of a federal strategy to promote the health of honeybees and other pollinators. This call to action included an order for the EPA to assess the effect of pesticides, including neonicotinoids, on pollinator health.
It was only last week that EPA went public on the subject of neonicotinoids. Many have been sounding the alarm for the past 20 years. Yet this moratorium does not address the number of systemic pesticides already on the market.
“What the EPA isn’t crowing about is the fact that they are quietly approving additional uses of existing neonics as well as approving new neonic-like systemics like sulfoxaflor. The chemical industry isn’t worried because it knows it has EPA management under its control,” says beekeeper and activist Tom Theobald.
There exists a solid body of science that says these systemic pesticides are the driving factor in bee declines world wide. This not only threatens our food supply, but the state of our environment and agricultural landscape.
When in comes to this collapse, we’re still waiting for Obama to take concrete steps.