Arsenic

rich/ April 10, 2007/ World/

from Eurekalert, for the ‘obvious’ file

Arsenic in chicken feed may pose health risks to humans, C&EN reports

Pets may not be the only organisms endangered by some food additives. An arsenic-based additive used in chicken feed may pose health risks to humans who eat meat from chickens that are raised on the feed, according to an article in the April 9 issue of Chemical & Engineering News, the weekly news magazine of the American Chemical Society.

Roxarsone, the most common arsenic-based additive used in chicken feed, is used to promote growth, kill parasites and improve pigmentation of chicken meat. In its original form, roxarsone is relatively benign. But under certain anaerobic conditions, within live chickens and on farm land, the compound is converted into more toxic forms of inorganic arsenic. Arsenic has been linked to bladder, lung, skin, kidney and colon cancer, while low-level exposures can lead to partial paralysis and diabetes, the article notes.

Use of roxarsone has become a topic of increasing controversy. A growing number of food suppliers have stopped using the compound, including the nation