Think that you’re healthy because you eat so much chicken everyday? You may want to reconsider that one.
It appears that there is a growing coalition of citizens and experts who are now fighting the Food and Drug Administration on it’s statements about the health and quality of the poultry we consume. In fact, some are saying that cancer-causing arsenic is rampant in both chicken and beef. The New York Times published an article on the topic, and others are elaborating on how the arsenic ends up in our meet.
In case you’re not aware, arsenic causes cancer. Researchers at Johns Hopkins have concluded that the amounts of arsenic found in our chicken are more than that which would occur naturally, and they are also high enough to increase cancer rates.
Joan Dickason, an expert on holistic health, writes an interesting piece about the matter, stating that the health consequences of consuming chicken may be worse than we once thought. According to Dickason and others, the FDA, oddly, maintained for decades that the arsenic found in chicken was expelled in the feces, but this doesn’t appear to be the case.
Dickason, after doing some research, says that there may be reasons that the FDA is not in a rush to ban arsenic in agriculture. Despite the FDA’s assurance that everything is ok, the fact is that this sort of thing has been banned in Europe for a very long time. Dickason says that it’s the use of chicken poop as fertilizer that might be the cash cow that keeps everyone from doing what they are supposed to do.
Chicken poop is used for fertilizer. A 2011 report, co-written by the National Resources Defense Council and the National Disease Clusters Alliance, was featured at a Senate environmental committee hearing. “Cancer Clusters, Disease, and the need to Protect People from Toxic Chemicals,” identifies at least 42 disease clusters in 13 states reported since 1976. In 2012, Maryland became the first state to ban arsenic in chicken feed, as it ends up in the litter at toxic levels and runs off into streams and the Chesapeake Bay.
Chicken poop is fed to cows. That means the arsenic from the chickens is also in your beef. Not to mention that feeding cows chicken manure can lead to mad cow disease, and (if not properly heated) expose you to campylobacter and salmonella bacteria, which can make humans sick. Intestinal parasites, veterinary drug residues and other toxic heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and mercury are also often present in the waste.
Arsenic is everywhere, according to Dickason: In our water supply, food supply and even apple juice. Dickason says that it’s time that we start paying attention to the long list of groups calling for a ban on arsenic in the food supply. What’s the solution? It may be time to go organic with the food you eat.
“For me, from now on, I’ll eat only organic chicken and pasture feed beef and keep my eye out for how I can use my dollars, my vote and my practice to influence positive environmental change,” she says.