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In the 1940s FDA approved the addition of arsenic based drugs in poultry and swine feeds i.e. the food chain; today arsenic poisoning symptoms are tied to ADD, fibromyalgia, Type II diabetes, cancer...


August 2011 | TheDogPress

Nel Liquorman, Investigative Reporter


HOW ARSENIC GETS INTO DOG FOODThe FDA believed that most of the arsenic would be excreted in poultry droppings.  That sounded good in the 40s - if you discount the arsenic remaining in the flesh which is then eaten by humans and their pets.   But it isn’t just in poultry.  FDA considers processed feathers and poultry barn waste (including feces) an acceptable source of protein for cattle feed, even though it has been shown to contain arsenic ingested by the poultry.


This practice has generated tremendous controversy over the last two years.  The good news is Pfizer’s subsidiary Alpharma, agreed to take their arsenic drugs off the USA market within 30 days of their June 8, 2011 news release.  The bad news is that trillions of animals and humans have already ingested trace elements of arsenic which sends up red flags for consumers and lawmakers alike.


Arsenic Based Drugs In The Food Supply

The generic names are Monesin and Roxarsone.  Monensin ingestion by horses, mature turkeys, and guinea fowl has been fatal and the label warnings are worrisome to humans:


  Drug overdose or lack of water intake may result in leg weakness or paralysis

  Withdraw 5 days before slaughter

  Keep out of reach of children

  In mixing avoid inhaling dust

  Avoid contact of product with skin, eyes and clothing

  Wash thoroughly after handling

  Poison if swallowed


Arsenic Poisoning Symptoms

Death is the final symptom but depending on the duration and amount ingested, symptoms of arsenic poisoning include:


  Nerve and enzyme poisoning including symptoms such as malaise, fatigue, unexplained aches and pains, dizziness and weakness

  neurological symptoms

  blood disorders including anemia and blood sugar problems

  Listed also are several forms of cancer


Many arsenic poisoning symptoms sound amazingly like those for fibromyalgia, a set of symptoms finally given a name about three decades ago after unilaterally dismissing complaints, especially from women, for over 20 years. Doctors did not believe fibromyalgia patients had real problems because there are no definitive X-rays or laboratory findings but finally, the medical community gave a name to something they could neither explain nor cure.  So 60-some years after the addition of arsenic to poultry feeds, the similarity between fibromyalgia and arsenic poisoning is inescapable.


As cancer rates spiral off the graph, we must consider that arsenic (a heavy metal) in the food supply could be a contributing factor.  What about the inexplicable epidemic of ADD, behavioral and developmental problems in children?  And the extraordinary rise in Type II Diabetes?  Many authorities acknowledge such health problems are diet-related but so far, no studies seem eager to link fibromyalgia, cancer, behavioral problems and diabetes to arsenic in the food chain.


We provide the case and suggest consumers demand that independently-funded scientists and medical professionals examine the effects of arsenic in the food chain, including but not limited to poultry, fish, milk and meat producing animals.


Events Leading up to Withdrawal of Arsenic Compounds


  September 26, 2009, U.S. Representative Steve Israel (D-NY) introduced a bill to ban the use of an arsenical compound used in animal production.  Known as the Poison-Free Poultry Act of 2009, or H.R. 3624.  There appears to have been no report by committee and no vote on this bill.

  September 2009, the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) began a study of effects of 3-NITRO® on 100 chickens.

  December 8, 2009, Center for Food Safety (CSF) and the institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) filed a petition with the FDA calling for immediate withdrawal of all animal drugs containing arsenic compounds used in human food animals.

  July 6, 2010, 2 Utah children tested positive for arsenic, which was traced to backyard chickens kept for egg production.  While no arsenic was listed on the chicken feed label, the chicken feed itself tested positive for arsenic.

  February 2011, the study by FDA’s CVM that began in September 2009 was completed and there was a final report.

  June 8, 2011, FDA news release states: “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that Alpharma, a subsidiary of Pfizer Inc. will voluntarily suspend U.S. sales of the animal drug 3-Nitro (Roxarsone), a product used by poultry producers since the 1940’s."


CONTINUE TO PAGE 2 - HOW ARSENIC GETS INTO DOG FOODPressures from many sources brought about the withdrawal of this risky product only four months after the FDA’s final report.  Experts weighed in, observing that excretions from treated chickens caused contamination of land and ground water as poultry waste is used in lawn and garden fertilizers.  Even so, the FDA, in its final report indicates that we don’t have to stop consuming arsenic laced chicken “products” because arsenic levels are low.


That is a comfort akin to the fox shouting up to the house “don’t worry about the cackling, the chickens are fine."


Small Children and Pets At Most Risk

We know that any food chain contamination affects the smallest beings first.  That would be our children and household pets.  The pet food industry uses tons of chicken.  The process for making chicken meal which concentrates...