According to the World Health Organization, arsenic is a natural component of the earth’s crust which is distributed through air, water, and land. The organization also states that people are exposed to arsenic through contaminated water in food preparation and irrigation of food crops, as well as consuming contaminated food. A recent report by the Daily Health Post claims that the FDA has finally admitted that chicken breasts contain this deadly cancer-causing component, but further research suggests that this has already been confirmed years ago.
The American Cancer Society explains that exposure to high levels of arsenic has been linked to different types of cancer. They add that two main studies were conducted in order to try and figure out if there was an association between arsenic and cancer. A number of studies took a look at the exposure of arsenic in people who work with pesticides that contain arsenic. These studies follow thousands of workers for as long as 50 years and have consistently shown an increase in lung cancer with more prolonged exposure.
Other studies have come out of South America and Southeast Asia which have high levels of arsenic in their drinking water. These studies have found a higher risk of bladder, kidney, lung and skin cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. In June 2011, the New York Times did a report on Pfizer, which is a company that makes 3-Nitro or roxarsone, which contains arsenic. This report indicates that the drug was first approved in 1944 because it kills intestinal parasites, promotes growth and makes meat look pinker. Producers assumed that since the drug contains organic arsenic, it wouldn’t have any harm to individuals who consumed the animal that contained it.
The report from the New York Times also explained that there was growing evidence that organic arsenic has the ability to change into inorganic arsenic. So the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine and the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition decided to develop a way to measure the amounts of inorganic arsenic in meat. Researchers put together a study that consisted of 100 chickens and fed roxarsone to half of the chickens while measuring the amount of inorganic arsenic in their livers. FDA scientists found that the chickens that were fed roxarsone had higher levels of inorganic arsenic.
After the study was conducted and reported, Scott Brown, a veterinarian at Pfizer Animal Health, explained to the New York Times that Pfizer conducted their own studies on Nitro-3 and found it to be completely safe. But because the FDA had different results, Pfizer had to suspend all sales of the drug until they did a ‘full scientific assessment.’ Dr. Michael K. Hansen, a senior scientist with the Consumers Union, also told the New York Times, ‘Inorganic arsenic is cancer-causing, and action on this drug is long overdue.’
According to the National Chicken Council, over 9 billion broiler chickens, with a total weight of 55 million pounds, were produced in 2017 alone. With the last update on this heated debate being almost a decade ago, World Animal News has now reported that the FDA has finally ordered this toxic chemical to be phased out of meat completely. Some companies are still arguing that the amount of arsenic found in poultry is extremely low, while most consumers are criticizing the FDA for knowing about this problem long before the official announcement was made in 2011. Natural News reported that ‘after years of sweeping the issue under the rug and hoping no one would notice’ the FDA finally admitted that chicken meat sold in the United States did, in fact, contain arsenic that could be fatal in high doses.
The reason why it took so long for the FDA to admit that this toxic chemical was harmful in chicken could be anyone’s guess. They may have been protecting the pharmaceutical industries that sell this chemical, or maybe they simply wanted to ensure they had enough evidence to support their claim that would change the world forever. The bottom line is that significant evidence supports the dangers this chemical has on the human body and in my opinion, it’s much better to have something come out later rather than never. Also, just a reminder that there are products that contain no arsenic, just read the product labels closely!