Arsenic and Poultry: A Plea to Elected Officials

The prospect of a ban on the Maryland poultry industry’s use of arsenic-based drugs has become more complicated with a request by Delegate Maggie McIntosh (D–Maryland House of Delegates, District 43) and Senator Joan Carter Conway (D–Maryland State Senate, District 43) for a review of the scientific literature on the environmental effects of arsenic-based drugs in poultry. As a medical doctor and epidemiologist, I am disappointed that Delegate McIntosh and Senator Conway have not contracted with a research body with the capacity to assess potential human health hazards of Roxarsone and other arsenical drugs used by the Maryland poultry industry.

In their request, McIntosh and Conway have asked the Harry R. Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology to conduct the literature review and submit a report to the Maryland General Assembly (the scope of the study can be found here). As the Hughes Center states in their Scope of Work (read Scope of Work Hughes Center 2011 here),“We are not public health/human health experts and therefore cannot comment on concerns in these areas.” Read More >