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May 9, 2014

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68 antibiotic types found in water

SOME 68 types of antibiotics have been detected in China’s surface water, a consequence of the country’s chronic overuse of the drugs, according to a recent report.

These residues can pose health risks even in low concentrations, said the team of six academics from three universities.

The joint report by researchers from Beijing’s Tsinghua University, and Shanghai’s Tongji University and East China University of Science and Technology warned of the country’s dependency on antibiotics in healthcare and agriculture

It said China produces nearly 1,300 pharmaceutical and personal care products containing antibiotics per year.

Nearly 70 percent of drugs China produces are antibiotics — compared to a global average of 30 percent, it claimed.

On average, each person on China’s mainland uses 138 grams of antibiotics each year — nearly 10 times the amount used by Americans, according to an estimate by the former Ministry of Health.

It said 70 percent of inpatients and 50 percent of outpatients receive antibiotics.

Eight out of 10 patients with common colds and fever are given antibiotics, in most cases quite unnecessarily, renowned doctor and state lawmaker, Zhong Nanshan told People’s Daily.

Chinese doctors think if they try all means available, then they won’t be seen to be at fault if patients don’t recover, said Zhong.

Also, the more drugs doctors use, the higher the income they will receive, he added.

Meanwhile, the unrestricted use of antibiotics by poultry, fish and pig farmers and food producers is also a severe problem, said the report.

An environmental official told The Beijing News the aquaculture industry poses a serious environmental threat.

“Producers usually put hormones in feed to make fish, crabs and shrimps grow faster. Then in order to avoid them getting diseases, they add lots of antibiotics,” he said.

The report was published in Chinese Science Bulletin, a magazine overseen by the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the National Natural Science Foundation of China.


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