Arsenic-based drugs used in conventional chicken production may result in increased inorganic arsenic levels in conventional chicken meat

Photo Credit:  Peter Harrison Photo Credit: Peter Harrison

In a study published in Environmental Health Perspectives, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future found that conventional chicken meat raised with arsenical drugs such as roxarsone contained levels of inorganic arsenic that were four times higher than levels found in USDA Organic chicken. In 2010, almost 88% of all conventional chickens had received arsenic-based drugs.  In 2011, Pfizer voluntarily suspended the sale of roxarsone, but the use of arsenic-based drugs in poultry production is not banned, and other arsenic-based poultry drugs continue to be used, such as nitarsone, which is commonly used in turkey production.  The lead researcher of the recent study, Dr. Keeve Nachman, said,  “We hope that our findings will help inform future decision-making on the regulation of arsenic-based drugs in food production.” In the meantime, a good way to avoid arsenic in your chicken meat is to eat organic!