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Suspended Drugs: Antibiotics fed to animals drift in air

Drugs added to animal feed can latch onto dust particles that become airborne and float through farm buildings, according to German scientists investigating health risks. Such antibiotics could be toxic if livestock workers inhale them and also could accelerate the evolution of drug-resistant bacteria.

Past studies have found farm-derived antibiotics in waterways (SN: 3/23/02, p. 181: Available to subscribers at A Confluence of Contaminants: Streams' organic mix may pose environmental risk) and food products. The air represents a third route of unintended exposure to antibiotics, says microbiologist James Zahn of Iowa State University in Ames.

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