Pass The Arsenic Please

http://www.cok.net/lit/arsenic.php

Arsenic in Chicken

By Michael Greger, M.D.
http://www.veganmd.com

Originally published February 2004

After reviewing 5,000 chicken samples, researchers from the National Institutes of Health and the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service recently reported alarmingly high levels of arsenic contamination in the flesh of “broiler chickens”- chickens raised for meat.[1] These government researchers found that the amount of arsenic in chicken greatly exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency’s new upper safety limit of arsenic allowed in drinking water. In fact, the amount of arsenic found in chicken was 6 to 9 times that allowed by the EPA. A “bucket” of KFC fried chicken would be expected to have up to almost 50 times the amount of arsenic allowed in a glass of water.[2]

How did the arsenic get into the chickens? The poultry industryfed it to them. Most broiler chickens are fed arsenic in the United States.[3,4] Although fish and shellfish also present significant dietary sources of arsenic,[5] according to the Food and Drug Administration, arsenic compounds are extensively added to the feed of animals – particularly chickens and pigs – to make them grow faster.[6]

The animals Americans eat are so heavily infested with internal parasites that adding arsenic to the feed can result in a “stunning”
increase in growth rates.[7]

According to Dr. Ellen Silbergeld, a researcher from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, the poultry industry’s practice of using arsenic compounds in its feed is something that has not been studied: “It’s an issue everybody is trying to pretend doesn’t exist.”[8] “Arsenic acted as a growth stimulant in chickens—develops the meat faster—and since then, the poultry industry has gone wild using this ingredient,” says Donald Herman, a Mississippi agricultural consultant and former Environmental Protection Agency researcher who has studied this use of arsenic for a decade. “And they’ve tried everything to refrain it from becoming public knowledge.”[9]

The poultry industry argues that the organic form of arsenic given to chickens isn’t toxic.[10] “This study appears to be much ado about nothing,” says Richard Lobb, the public relations director of the industry organization National Chicken Council. He asserts that the less toxic form of arsenic is “used responsibly and safely by poultry producers.”[11] Contrary to Mr. Lobb’s claims, the researchers found not only elevated levels of organic arsenic in chicken meat, but elevated levels of the highly toxic inorganic form typically used only in insecticides and weed killers.[12] And cooking the muscles of these animals may create additional toxic arsenic by-products.[13]

Inorganic arsenic is considered one of the prominent environmental causes of cancer mortality in the world.[14] Arsenic is a human carcinogen linked to liver, lung, skin, kidney, bladder, and prostate cancers. It can also cause neurological, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and immune system abnormalities. Diabetes has also been linked to arsenic exposure.[15]

The feeding of arsenic to chickens in the United States releases
hundreds of tons of arsenic into the environment every year in the form of poultry manure, which is spread on fields as fertilizer.[16] In fact, there’s currently a coalition of families suffering serious health conditions suing chicken producers like Tyson after research showed cancer rates as much as 50 times above the national average in communities neighboring factory farm poultry operations.

The February 2004 Medical Letter on the Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration concludes: “Chicken consumption maycontribute significant amounts of arsenic to total arsenic exposure of the U.S. population….” Levels of arsenic in chicken are so high that other sources may have to be monitored carefully to prevent undue toxic exposure among the population.[17]

Citations

1. Environmental Health Perspectives 112 (2004): 18. 2. One KFC bucket contains 3 legs, 3 breasts, 3 wings, and 3 thighs [http://cspinet.org/new/pdf/letter_to_ftc.pdf] weighing a total of 1,176 grams [http://www.yum.com/nutrition/documents/kfc_nutrition.pdf] and containing up to 108.5 micrograms of inorganic arsenic [Environmental Health Perspectives 112 (2004): 18] exceeding the EPA limit on an 8 ounce glass of water by a factor of 48.4 [EPA 815-Z-01-001]. 3. Momplaisir GM, Rosal CG, and Heithmar EM, “Arsenic Speciation Methods for Studying the Environmental Fate of Organoarsenic Animal-Feed Additives,” U.S. EPA, NERL-Las Vegas, 2001; (TIM No. 01-11). 4. Medical Letter on the Centers for Disease Control and Food and Drug Administration, February 1, 2004. 5. Momplaisir GM, Rosa CG, and Heithmar EM, “Arsenic Speciation Methods for Studying the Environmental Fate of Organoarsenic Animal-Feed Additives,” U.S. EPA, NERL-Las Vegas, 2001; (TIM No. 01-11). 6. Ibid. 7. Texas Lawyer, January 23, 1995. 8. Vandiver J, “Chicken Feed,” Daily Times (Salisbury, Md.), January 4, 2004. 9. Texas Lawyer, January 23, 1995. 10. Health Day News, January 19, 2004. 11. Environmental Health Perspectives 112 (2004): 18. 12. Hanaoka K, Goessler W, Ohno H, Irgolic KJ, and Kaise T, “Formation of Toxic Arsenical in Roasted Muscles of Marine Animals,” Appl Organometal Chem, 15 (2001): 61-6. 13. Smith AH, Hopenhayn-Rich C, Bates ML, et al., “Cancer Risks from Arsenic in Drinking Water,” Environmental Health Perspectives 97 (1992), 259-67. 14. Momplaisir GM, Rosal CG, and Heithmar EM, “Arsenic Speciation Methods for Studying the Environmental Fate of Organoarsenic Animal-Feed Additives,” U.S. EPA, NERL-Las Vegas, 2001; (TIM No. 01-11). 15. Ibid. 16. Medical Letter on the Centers for Disease Control and Food and Drug Administration, February 1, 2004.

  1. It sounds like you can not eat anything! What is safe to buy and eat? Farmers markets don't even sound that safe. What can people do?
    — Mark    May 14, 03:20 PM    #
  2. There are any number of wonderful foods to eat. The key is that they need to be fresh, unprocessed, and prepared in the correct way. Low and slow on meats. All grains needs to be soaked prior to use. That includes wheat, corn, rice, oatmeal, etc., in order to neutralize the phytic acid. All dairy products should be unpasteurized and non-homogenized - in other words, drink only "raw" dairy products that you buy direct from a farm. All vegetables need to be organic, as to eggs. Meat should be obtained direct from a farm where you can ask the farmer what was put into the feed. No meat should be consumed that has been fed soy. When fed soy, the Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio becomes perverted, unbalancing our bodies, pushing our own Omega requirement off-balance. A really wonderful book that explains all the methods and gives tremendous information on this is "Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallon. It's highly informative and should be of encouragement to you. The idea is that we all need to return to a "traditional" diet of our ancestors, avoiding all processed foods that are high in chemicals, additives, preservatives and have been raised or grown with fast-growing, unhealthy methods. Knowing your food source is key! Being willing to take the time to make your own food is also helpful. ;)
    HTH.
    -Sharon
    Sharon    May 15, 05:36 PM    #
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