By: Micheal Greger, MD, Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States.
Arsenic is bad stuff—no argument, but most of the arsenic in the American diet comes not from rice; more than three quarters comes from animal products. Beef, milk, pork, hot dogs, eggs, and… chicken.
Purdue is the most contaminated. One bucket of American fast food chicken may exceed the EPA safety limit for arsenic in a glass of drinking water by 2000%.
How did it get there? The poultry industry fed it to them. Two million pounds of arsenic compounds are fed to chickens every year in the United States, and about 85 tons fed to pigs. Here’s the list of arsenic-containing feed additives approved by the FDA.
But why would the industry do that? Why do we feed millions of pounds of arsenic compounds to chickens every year. Here’s one of the chemical company ads: “Livestock and profits growing healthy together.” Approved by the FDA to increase the rate of weight gain. When you cram tens of thousands of birds into filthy football field-sized sheds to lie beak to beak in their own waste they become so heavily infested with internal parasites that adding arsenic to the feed to poison the bugs can result in a dramatic increase in growth rates. It’s also approved for use to “improve pigmentation.” Arsenic can give the carcass a pinkish tinge, which consumers prefer.
So the industry gets more profit; the consumers get the pink—what’s the downside? Landmark review in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences last year out of Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. What are the public health consequences of extra dietary arsenic? extra cancer risk, heart disease, diabetes, neuropathy, and neurocognitive deficits in children, not something to crow about.
How Many Cancers Have Been Caused by Arsenic-Laced Chicken?
to learn more about this issue.
About Michael Greger M.D.Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous “meat defamation” trial. Currently Dr. Greger proudly serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States.