Roxarsone

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Roxarsone is an arsenic-containing drug that "kills intestinal parasites, promotes growth and makes meat look pinker" in chickens. It was first approved in 1944 and used continuously until 2011 in the United States.[1] Pfizer sold it under the brand name 3-Nitro until June 2011, when the FDA requested that Pfizer voluntarily stop sales of the drug due to safety concerns. According to the New York Times:[2]

"And since 3-Nitro contains organic arsenic, which is far less toxic than its inorganic counterpart, producers assumed that it would have no effect on people who ate the animals.
"But there has been growing evidence that organic arsenic can change into its more toxic cousin. So F.D.A. researchers developed a way to measure inorganic arsenic in meat. They got 100 chickens, fed roxarsone to about half of them and measured levels of inorganic arsenic in their livers. Chickens fed roxarsone had consistently higher levels of inorganic arsenic, a known carcinogen."

The E.U. banned roxarsone in 1999 and Tyson stopped using it in 2004.[3]

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References

  1. Gardiner Harris and Denise Grady, Pfizer Suspends Sales of Chicken Drug With Arsenic, New York Times, June 8, 2011, Accessed June 14, 2011.
  2. Gardiner Harris and Denise Grady, Pfizer Suspends Sales of Chicken Drug With Arsenic, New York Times, June 8, 2011, Accessed June 14, 2011.
  3. Tom Philpott, Some Arsenic With That Supermarket Chicken?, Mother Jones, June 11, 2011, Accessed June 14, 2011.

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