Arsenic-based poulty feed additives intended to aid the growth of chickens is close to being banned in Maryland.
The Maryland state Senate has approved a bill to ban a poultry feed additive containing arsenic. Specifically, it targets the sale of roxarsone, a once widely-used chemical which helps chickens and other fowl grow and fight disease.
Opponents of the legislation say the bill threatens Maryland's Eastern Shore poultry industry and is no longer necessary because Pfizer Inc. has voluntarily suspended the sale of the chemical.
Sponsors of the legislation say the arsenic additive contaminates chicken meat and waste, polluting soil and the Chesapeake Bay.
Observers say differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill need to be reconciled before a final measure goes for a vote.