Maryland: Ban Arsenic From Chicken | Food & Water Watch
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Cassandra Nguyen

Maryland: Ban Arsenic From Chicken

Maryland Becomes First State to Ban Arsenic in Chicken Feed!

In May 2012, Food & Water Watch helped pass legislation in the state of Maryland banning arsenic in chicken feed, making it the first state in the nation to implement such a ban. For over two years we worked with committed activists, community members and legislators to make sure this poisonous and unnecessary feed additive was banned in chicken production in the state. Learn more.

It’s hard to believe but the chickens we eat and serve our families has arsenic — a common rat poison — in it.

Health Risks

A recent FDA study found higher levels of arsenic in the chicken that consumers eat than originally thought. In 2006, a study detected arsenic in 55 percent of chickens from grocery stores and 100 percent of fast food chicken.

Exposure to arsenic, even in small trace amounts, is widely known to cause cancer, and has been linked to cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and neurological problems in children.

Environmental Risks

Arsenic that is fed to chickens also ends up in the chicken litter that is used as fertilizer across Maryland. It’s estimated that 22,000 pounds of arsenic a year is added to the fields which ultimately gets washed into waterways like the Chesapeake Bay.

A study commissioned by the Maryland legislature found the practice of feeding arsenic to chickens is not sustainable, as arsenic accumulates in soil at toxic levels and runs off into streams.

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