Arsenic Additives Blamed for Rash of Cancer Cases
Use of aresenic in chicken feed to kill parasites, killing humans

Scientists confirmed what grandmothers have known for centuries - chicken soup is good for colds. Chicken soup-like grandma used to make-contains several ingredients that affect the body's immune system. Dr. Stephen Rennard and a team at the University of Nebraska Medical Center found anti-inflammatory properties that helps explain why it soothes sore throats and eases the misery of colds and flu.

But "It's not nice to fool Mother Nature!" To make huge profits Tyson pioneered the factory production of chickens, raising them by the thousands in overcrowded conditions, feeding them recycled "rendered" feed processed from cancerous chickens, road kill, chicken manure, offal and a witches' brew of odious chemicals and drugs. It is not surprising these chickens were unhealthy.

Profits went down because chicken raised in such unnatural conditions are so seriously infested with parasites they barely grow. In the 1970s the poultry industry began adding arsenic-based chemicals to chicken feed. Roxarsone is commonly mixed with feed to control intestinal parasites and promote growth in both poultry and hogs.

Dr. Michael Greger, MD, reports researchers from the National Institutes of Health and the USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service recently reported "alarmingly high levels of arsenic contamination in the flesh of broiler chickens." These government researchers found that the amount of arsenic in chicken greatly exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency's new upper safety limit of arsenic allowed in drinking water. The amount of arsenic found in chicken was 6 to 9 times that allowed by the EPA. A "bucket" of Kentucky Fried Chicken would be expected to have up to almost fifty times the amount of arsenic allowed in a glass of water.

Arsenic has long been known to be a deadly poison, but not everyone knows, even in amounts far too small to kill you outright, it is a deadly carcinogen. Arsenic causes at least 20 different types of cancer, kidney, prostate and virtually every organ. Some cancers-such as skin, lung, and bladder cancer-have been seen at exposures of as little as ten to forty micrograms per day.

The National Academies, which advises the federal government on a range of health and science issues, reported to Congress in 2001 "that the data indicate arsenic causes cancer in humans at doses that are close to the drinking water concentrations that occur in the United States." The chemical and commercial poultry interests claim the arsenic in roxasrone is "harmless." But there was increased incidence of "carcinogenic activity," adenomas of the exocrine pancreas in male F344/N rats exposed to roxarsone.

While scientists experiment on lab rats, real humans are dying. The tiny town of Prairie Grove, Arkansas, is suffering from a cancer epidemic far more dangerous and deadly than the hyped, hypothetical bird flu scarerism. Too many residents in the town of 2,500 have been diagnosed with rare cancers that usually occur at a rate of one in a million. Grieving parents have had to bury at least four children, not just government "statistics" in this cancer cluster, 50 times higher than the national average.

Survivors have filed at least a half dozen lawsuits. At least five children are among the plaintiffs.

Leukemia, testicular and brain cancers are the most common cancers related to environmental factors in children and young adults.

The "smoking gun" is higher than expected levels of arsenic in dust found in the homes of cancer victims, reported The (Springdale) Morning News.

According to Dr. James Dahlgreen, an expert in internal, occupational and environmental medicine, Roxarsone, when spread on fields, biodegrades into very toxic poisons: Inorganic Arsenic III and V. The plaintiffs are angry because they say the defendant companies intentionally failed to warn the public of the danger presented by exposure to chicken litter, deliberately misrepresented the danger and took steps to conceal from the public the harmful effects of exposure.

Alpharma, Alpharma Animal Health, Cal-Maine Farms, Cargill, George's, Peterson, Simmons and Tyson Foods are among the defendant companies.

Besides cancers, the townspeople complain they suffer from many ailments, ranging the gamut from respiratory diseases, gastro-intestinal troubles to auto-immune and neurological disorders. This is not surprising because arsenic has also been linked to many illnesses, for example, diabetes, cardio-vascular damage, suppressed immune systems and DNA destruction.

While the lawsuits in Prairie Grove and other small farming communities in Kentucky and Mississippi focus on airborne arsenic carried by dust from fields fertilized with chicken litter, other experts are far more concerned with the long term effects of the arsenic contamination of soils and groundwater.

For example 338,679 tons of litter is produced annually in Maryland. More than 76% (258,081 tons) comes from the four Lower Shore counties. On the Delmarva Peninsula 20 to 50 metric tons of arsenic are added to the environment annually by chicken farmers.

Cancer rates on the Lower Shore are among the highest in Maryland, far exceeding national averages of 206 per 100,000.

Somerset County has one of the highest cancer death rates (267 cases for every 100,000 people) in America. Wicomico and Worcester counties also exceeded national and state averages (233 deaths and 229 deaths, respectively, per 100,000 people.)

According to John Vandiver in the Salisbury, MD Daily Times, the National Academy determined that enough evidence existed to draw the conclusion that arsenic rates commonly found in the country's water supply were enough to lead to some forms of cancer. The findings came at a time when President Bush was working to repeal a Clinton administration proposal to reduce the allowable amount of arsenic in drinking water from 50 micrograms per liter to 10 micrograms per liter, which is the health standard used by the European Union and World Health Organization.

Dr. Ellen Silbergeld, a researcher from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, said "We're trying to do everything we can to get levels lower in drinking water at very great cost, and yet we're deliberately adding it to chicken."

The poultry industry's practice of using arsenic compounds is "an issue everybody is trying to pretend doesn't exist.The arsenicals are there. Are they significant amounts? That's the issue."

Silbergeld says using chicken litter as an alternative energy source could be dangerous. "If the levels of arsenic in waste are significant, burning it would be the worst thing to do," she said.

"Arsenic acted as a growth stimulant in chickens-develops the meat faster-and since then, the poultry industry has gone wild using this ingredient," says Donald Herman, a Mississippi agricultural consultant and former Environmental Protection Agency researcher who has studied this use of arsenic for a decade. "And they've tried everything to refrain it from becoming public knowledge."

Researchers found not only elevated levels of organic arsenic in chicken meat, they found elevated levels of the highly toxic inorganic form typically used only in insecticides and weed killers. They warned cooking the muscles of these animals may create additional toxic arsenic by-products.

The good news is no arsenic was found in organically raised chickens. USDA standards do not allow arsenic in organic-chicken feed. So find a source for organic chicken, and listen to grandma-and Mother Nature. Bon apetite.