Bills banning arsenic take shape in MD General Assembly

Dr. Keeve Nachman, Director of the Farming for the Future Program at CLF, spoke at a press conference yesterday in the Maryland House of Delegates. The press conference was organized by Montgomery County Delegate Tom Hucker and Prince George’s County Senator Paul Pinsky.  Senator Pinsky and Delegate Hucker are proposing bills in both the House and the Senate which would ban the use of arsenical drugs (including roxarsone), common feed additives in the broiler poultry industry.

The arsenic-containing drug roxarsone is transformed into the toxic inorganic form of arsenic both in the gut of chickens as well as in their waste, where it is then used as a fertilizer for crops.  “This creates opportunities for people to be exposed to arsenic in their water and their food, increasing their risks of developing cancer and other health problems,” Dr. Nachman said.  Dr. Nachman described the many health threats posed by exposure to inorganic arsenic, which include cancer and cardiovascular disease, among many other health effects.

“This bill will affect every Marylander, their health, and their environment,” Delegate Hucker said.

In addition to Delegate Hucker and Senator Pinsky, Maryland’s Attorney General Douglas Gansler, Food and Water Watch’s Assistant Director Patty Lovera, and Drew Koslow of the Choptank Riverkeeper spoke at the conference in support of the bill and the negative environmental and public health impacts resulting from the use of roxarsone in poultry feed.

Details of the Senate and House versions of the bill can be found HERE for the Senate (Senate Bill SB0417) and HERE for the House (House Bill 0754). Click HERE to read Dr. Nachman’s full press statement.