Arsenic in backyard chickens?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by sltrib, Jul 6, 2010.

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  1. sltrib

    sltrib New Egg

    Jul 6, 2010
    I'm a web producer for The Salt Lake Tribune and ran across your forum. Thought you all might be interested in this story in our paper from yesterday:
    Utah study points to arsenic in backyard chickens: (Link removed by Staff)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 7, 2010
  2. LarryPQ

    LarryPQ Easter Hatch!!

    Jul 17, 2009
    Interesting...[goes to read the ingredients on her bags of feed]
  3. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

    Aug 13, 2007
    North/Central Florida
    The problem is here:

    The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), the EPA’s toxics laboratory, gave the Health Department a grant to test eggs from the Mapleton family’s hens, as well as the feed they were eating. The state turned up arsenic concentrations of 1.9 parts per million in the feed and 0.055 ppm in the eggs. Although the FDA allows almost 10 times more arsenic in eggs than the Health Department measured, the children who ate the tainted eggs developed levels considered toxic by the ATSDR.

    And once the children stopped eating the family’s eggs, and once the chickens were given arsenic-free feed to eat, contamination levels declined, follow-up tests showed.

    “We tested regular grocery store eggs,” McNaughton added, “and they did not have any arsenic.”

    ‘It’s not there’ » The Intermountain Farmers Association, which sells the feed the Mapleton family had fed its hens from the start, disputes the health department’s findings and is asking the agency to retract its study, said Layne Anderson, vice president for agricultural operations.

    He said there is no roxarsone — nor any other arsenic-containing additive — in the co-op’s feed. In fact, there’s none at any of its facilities in five states, Anderson said.

    “It’s not in there,” he said of the company’s chicken feed. “The levels of arsenic would be much higher if that was in it.”

    He said the arsenic found in the feed tested at the Health Department reflects nothing more than background levels,
    and it is irresponsible to suggest otherwise.

    “I’m concerned if there’s arsenic in our customers’ bodies,” he added, “but it’s not coming from our feed.”

    McNaughton acknowledged that her agency did not test specifically for roxarsone. Still, she noted that the arsenic levels in the Mapleton children, the family’s eggs and their hens’ original food were excessive.

    “It doesn’t matter where the arsenic is coming from,” she said. “It’s high enough to exceed the maximum risk level.”

    They still haven't proved where the arsenic is coming from. What exactly was the chemical form of it? Could it have been from one of the components the feed was made from that was not roxarsone?

    The article is an advocacy piece against roxarsone when it was not proven that roxarsone was in the feed that family fed to their hens. Without knowing exactly where the arsenic came from how are we to know if it was put into the feed knowingly or whether it was a contaminant?
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2010
  4. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    I agree with A.T. Hagan on this issue, raises more questions than answers. However, we all know that commercially, additives are given to most all farm animals for quick growth for quicker processing of said animals to be consumed by the american public. No telling what's in these additives and the same could be said for the nationwide distribution of fruits and vegetables, not to mention the chemicals used to deter pests. I do understand why chemicals must be used though. I use chemicals to treat my chickens if absolutely needed. Organic is the way to go for safe food only if you know what's going into it and you are growing it yourself, but not feasible given the complex society we live in. I for one, cant afford having another garden washed out by heavy rains, twice in two's easier to go to the grocery store and buy food there, saves time and money.
  5. Sillystunt

    Sillystunt Master of the Silly

    Jul 11, 2008
    Winter Haven, FL
  6. rrrsmom

    rrrsmom Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 2, 2007
    salt lake city, Ut
    I've posted this question 2x's before. This is my third post on the same thing. Where are my posts going? I buy my feed from the same supplier the woman in the article does. I think the article plays a sneaky trick that is often used in legal issues. They didn't test the food... which means they can say, "the chickens were tested and the eggs were tested, and the children were tested. After a change in diet for both the chickens and the children the arsenic level went down, proving it was the feed. They can also say, "The feed wasn't tested, therefore proving it wasn't the feed." They leave it open to interpretation which doesn't answer my question. If they were your chickens, would you continue to purchase your feed there? What do you think I should do?
  7. Suburban Sprouts

    Suburban Sprouts Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 29, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    I believe that "the chicken whisperer" is going to have the woman who did the study on this on his radio show soon... Maybe Tuesday? I can't remember exactly but I think it is early next week.

    I HIGHLY suggest that if anyone is interested in this topic, they should listen in as I know Andy will probably be asking her all the questions we are wondering about!!
  8. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Folks, this link has caused a huge stir and a thread on the subject to be closed. Since it is against the rules of BYC to bring up a previously closed topic, we are closing this one, too.
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