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Is the Chicken You Eat Poisoned With Arsenic?

Roxarsone, an arsenic-based additive used in chicken feed, could pose health risks to humans.

Roxarsone is the most common arsenic-based additive used in chicken feed, used to promote growth, kill parasites and improve the color of chicken meat. It is normally benign, but under certain conditions that can occur within live chickens or on farm land, the compound converts into more toxic forms of inorganic arsenic.

Arsenic has been linked to bladder, lung, skin, kidney and colon cancers, and low-level exposure can lead to partial paralysis and diabetes.

A number of food suppliers have stopped using roxarsone, including Tyson Foods, which is the largest poultry producer in the United States. But even so, 70 percent of the 9 billion broiler chickens produced annually in the United States are fed roxarsone.

Chemical & Engineering News, Vol. 85, No. 15, April 9, 2007: 34-35 (Free Full-Text Article)

Science Daily April 10, 2007

Dr. Mercola's Comment:

You were probably as surprised as I was to find out that nearly three-fourths of commercially raised chickens will be contaminated with arsenic because they were fed contaminated food.

Seems like it would be wise to avoid most conventionally raised chicken altogether now that you know about roxarsone. Neither the USDA or FDA have a clue as to how much arsenic you may be consuming in the chicken you eat.

In the only testing that has measured arsenic in chicken so far, nearly 75 percent of the raw meat sampled from conventional sources in Minnesota and California contain detectable levels of arsenic along with one-third of the samples taken from organic and "premium" sources.

Still, organic chicken -- preferably those raised on farms near you -- is the best choice for your health. Organic chickens are better fed, exposed to fewer pesticides and harmful chemicals, and get more sunlight, all of which makes them healthier for you.

This is one of the reasons you will want to consume organic foods whenever possible. Just makes no sense to load your body up with toxic substances that will clearly harm you in the long run.

If you are concerned that organic chicken is too expensive, please be sure to read Colleen Huber's excellent article on finding organic foods for the same price as processed, conventional foods.

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