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Local Advocates Raise Flags About Arsenic In Poultry

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Food & Water Watch, a consumer advocacy organization in Maryland, is joining forces with community leaders and local farmers to raise awareness about the potential danger associated with arsenic in poultry.

The Journal of Poultry Science reports, since 1995, 70 percent of the chickens produced in this country have been raised with feed containing an arsenic-based drug.

Approved by the FDA, the drug is a common supplement used to reduce the spread of a parasitic disease among chickens.

Dr. Sakiliba Mines, a physician with Food and Water Watch, says although there is no direct link between the feed and human health, chronic exposure to arsenic has its risks.

"I have spoken to a lot of patients who have told me they're healthy as a horse, but they are diabetic, they have high blood pressure, they have arthritis...they have cancers in their family, so that's not [being] healthy as a horse," Mines says.

Earlier this year, bills were filed in the Maryland House and Senate which would ban the sale of poultry feed containing the arsenic based additive. Both of those measures were defeated.

Caroline Taylor, executive director of Montgomery County Countryside Alliance, says it's time for the Fed to get involved.

"I think that now that the body of evidence is compelling, that the FDA and the EPA need to re-evaluate arsenic added to the food chain," Taylor says.

Maryland is the seventh-largest poultry-producing state in the United States.

WAMU 88.5

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