Maryland Bans Arsenical Drug in Chicken Feed

By Schmidt, Charles W. | Environmental Health Perspectives, July 2012 | Go to article overview

Maryland Bans Arsenical Drug in Chicken Feed


Schmidt, Charles W., Environmental Health Perspectives


Maryland has become the first state to ban arsenical feed additives used in chicken production. (1) Signed 22 May 2012 by state governor Martin O'Malley, the ban applies mainly to a drug called roxarsone (sold as 3-Nitro[R]) and takes effect 1 January 2013.

Produced by Pfizer subsidiary Alpharma LLC and used for nearly 60 years to prevent and treat infections caused by parasites called coccidians, roxarsone also helps chickens grow faster with less feed. It's not known how roxarsone kills coccidians, according to John Barn, a professor of parasitology at the University of Guelph, Canada.

At the time roxarsone was approved, scientists believed its organic arsenic base would be excreted unchanged. Then emerging research showed that birds can metabolize organic arsenic to the more toxic inorganic form. (2) Furthermore, whereas fresh poultry waste does contain predominately organic arsenic, in the soil it degrades to inorganic arsenic, which has been found to run off into receiving waters and accumulate in stream sediments. (3) In studies of these environmental media in the Delmarva Peninsula, spreading the waste of roxarsone-fed poultry on soil was associated with inorganic arsenic concentrations that occasionally exceeded federal and state remediation standards; however, deep groundwater, the major source of drinking water on the peninsula, appears to be largely unaffected by the application of manure containing arsenic. (3) Pfizer spokesman Christopher Loder says, "We are not aware of evidence that demonstrates a risk to the environment from use of.roxarsone."

Maryland imposed the ban in 2012, the third consecutive year that such legislation was considered in the General Assembly. The latest effort followed a 2011 study by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that detected higher levels of inorganic arsenic in the livers of roxarsone-treated broiler chickens than in untreated controls. (2) The FDA investigators assessed combined inorganic and organic arsenic in the meat and organs of treated and untreated birds. However, they completed a speciation profile--teasing apart inorganic and organic content--only for liver tissue.

3-Nitro contains both the active ingredient roxarsone and a carrier that contains rice hulls, which themselves can be high in inorganic arsenic. The FDA analysis indicated that "it is unlikely that the rice hulls are contributing any significant amount of arsenic to the finished medicated diet." (2) However, Bill Satterfield, executive director of Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc., a trade group based near Georgetown, Delaware, points out that the source of the inorganic arsenic was not determined in the FDA study nor was any transformation pathway demonstrated.

In July 2011 Alpharma voluntarily suspended 3-Nitro sales in the United States. (4) The new ban therefore applies to roxarsone that poultry farmers had stockpiled for future use. But according to Satterfield, most Maryland chicken companies stopped using the drug after Alpharma stopped selling it. (5) "Producers were given an opportunity to purchase limited amounts of roxarsone to help with the transition to a new product," he says, "but from what I understand, no one is using it now."

The Maryland ban exempts Histostat[R] (nitarsone), another Alpharma arsenical for use in poultry, which is the only FDA-approved treatment for histomoniasis, a potentially lethal illness. Moreover, according to Satterfield, the roxarsone ban can be lifted in Maryland in the event the FDA supports such an action in the future. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Maryland Bans Arsenical Drug in Chicken Feed
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.