research from the University of Guelph has shown that environmental contamination from antibiotics does not pose significant risks to soil and aquatic organisms.

Professor Paul Sibley of the department of environmental biology and Professor Keith Solomon of the centre for toxicology have wrapped up six years of research examining the use of pharmaceuticals in the Canadian hog and cattle industry. They've determined that pharmaceuticals represent a negligible risk to the environment if used as instructed.

Pharmaceuticals were first subject to concern when they were detected in the environment more than a decade ago. It was thought the chemicals could cause contamination through routine practices such as manure spreading. Animals administered antibiotics excreted them through feces or urine, which was then applied to land and could cause damage to soil systems or migrate into nearby waterways.

Programs such as the Canadian Quality Assurance are helping to inform farmers about proper protocols and how to manage the antibiotics given on the farm. The program also helps with traceability should contamination occur.