Nearly all conventional chicken meat is intentionally contaminated with arsenic
by: Ethan A. Huff
Thursday, September 12, 2013
Following the release of a groundbreaking U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) report back in 2011 indicting roxarsone, the infamous Pfizer-produced arsenical drug, as a high-level contaminant in conventional chicken meat, the drug’s manufacturer voluntarily agreed to pull it off the market, leading many health-conscious individuals to breathe a collective sigh of relief. But a new study recently published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP) reveals that inorganic arsenic is still prevalent in virtually all conventional chicken meat, as an arsenical drug similar in composition to roxarsone is still being widely used and fed to conventional chickens.
Entitled “Arsenical Association: Inorganic Arsenic May Accumulate in the Meat of Treated Chickens,” the new study explains how inorganic arsenic (iAs), a known human carcinogen, accumulates in the muscle tissue of chickens treated with arsenical drugs like roxarsone, the official brand name of which is 3-Nitro. The previous assumption was that these organic arsenic compounds pass through chickens unchanged and thus do not pose a considerable threat to human health. But the FDA study revealed quite the opposite when it found that roxarsone is capable of transforming into iAs upon ingestion, where it then accumulates in the edible parts of chickens.
Since roxarsone is no longer on the market, many people think that iAs is no longer a major threat in conventional chicken meat. But another lesser-known arsenical drug, nitarsone, is still quietly being used in conventional chicken production in the U.S., as explained in a May 11, 2013, piece published by The New York Times, which means that the threat is still present. For whatever reason, health officials have been slow to take a closer look at nitarsone, which exhibits virtually the same effects as roxarsone in treated chickens.