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Maryland Bans the Use of Arsenic in Chicken Feed

The state has passed a bill designed to prevent arsenic from contaminating local soil and water.


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In a historic decision, Maryland has become the first state to ban the use of arsenic in chicken feed. The new law, which passed after being introduced in the state legislature for three consecutive years, gained momentum after a University of Maryland report revealed that the presence of the toxic substance in feed was contaminating local waterways. An estimated 70 percent of broiler chickens—chickens raised for meat—were fed arsenic in 2011, a practice designed to boost growth and maintain chickens’ commercially viable pink hue. As a result, more than 25,000 pounds of the chemical compound have been introduced into Maryland’s air and water. Inorganic arsenic is considered a Class A carcinogen, and has been linked to life-threatening illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes.

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