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Activists push for arsenic ban

A new report from US activist group, Food & Water Watch warns of public health and environmental risks of arsenic in poultry feed and the group is calling for a ban on its use.

As part of a movement to ban the use of arsenic in poultry production in the state of Maryland, the consumer advocacy group Food & Water Watch has partnered with community leaders to educate the public about the environmental and public health problems associated with the chemical.
A known poison, arsenic is often added to chicken feed in the form of the compound roxarsone to control the common intestinal disease coccidiosis, to promote growth and as a cosmetic additive, according to the report.
Chronic exposure to arsenic has also been shown to increase the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, neurological deficits and other health problems.
Maryland is the seventh largest broiler-producing state in the US, according the 2007 US Census of Agriculture.
The state sold nearly 300 million broiler chickens in 2007. On the Delmarva Peninsula (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia) alone, 1,700 chicken operations raise 11 million chickens per week.
Water pollution
Researchers estimate that between 20 and 50 tonnes of roxarsone are applied to crops there every year via poultry waste.
Groundwater tests on both sides of the Chesapeake Bay's Coastal Plains found arsenic in some household wells reaching up to 13 times the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) tolerance limit.
Arsenic in chicken litter can convert to more dangerous forms of arsenic than those originally used in feed. This is why a bill to ban arsenic in chicken feed was introduced earlier this year in the Maryland House of Delegates.

Dick Ziggers

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    steve kopperud

    I'm a little surprised your eletter would simply pick up the propaganda espoused by Food & Water Watch and run it as though it were gospel. The "study" F&WW puts forward is essentially other activist work that has been disproved or dismissed over time. No where does it mention there is but a single atom of organic arsenic in the formula for 3-Nitro -- it's inorganic arsenic that poisons -- and at the same time, no where does it mention FDA has reviewed this product every time there's an application for new use, generally in combination, the latest review having taken place in 2009. Also, there's no discussion of the millions of birds saved by the product through enhanced coccidostat effectiveness. By the way, F&WW is as much a "consumer" group as I am a space shuttle pilot.

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