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Tom Hucker's picture

You proved it: if the people lead, the leaders will follow.

Thanks to your emails to state lawmakers, Maryland recently became the first state to ban roxarsone and other antibiotics containing arsenic from agriculture. Now we need your help to finish the job:

Arsenic is a deadly, Class A carcinogen, one that also causes developmental diseases, heart disease, and diabetes. Yet since the 1940s, the chicken industry has been allowed to add antibiotics containing thousands of tons of arsenic to our food supply and environment each year by feeding arsenic drugs to chickens nationwide.

Due to your calls and emails, we are now permanently keeping 30,000 pounds of deadly arsenic each year out of Maryland-raised chickens and the Chesapeake Bay watershed. But we can’t stop here.

Last summer, FDA research proved that feeding arsenic drugs to chicken produces chicken that is contaminated with arsenic. For years, the industry misled the public and lawmakers by claiming that no arsenic ended up in chickens; the FDA proved them wrong. And new research by scientists from Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland has shown that deadly arsenic from billions of pounds of contaminated chicken litter, which is widely spread on agricultural land as fertilizer, washes off into surface water every time it rains. When it’s not raining, the same arsenic binds to and contaminates our nation’s agricultural fields. See this great graphic from The Washington Post for more detail.

However, some people never learn. Industry sources tell us that Pfizer, the manufacturer of roxarsone, will soon approach the FDA to request approval of a new generation of arsenic drugs, rather than focusing on safe alternatives.

Please help us finish the job. Our big win in Maryland is only the first step.

CLICK HERE to tell President Obama and FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg to refuse to approve any new arsenical drugs, and to withdraw the approval for roxarsone.

Thanks for raising your voice to make a difference!

Here's the letter:

Dear President Obama and FDA Commissioner Hamburg:

Arsenic from FDA-approved drugs like roxarsone poses a completely unnecessary risk to my family’s food safety and our environment. Arsenic is a class A carcinogen that causes stillbirths, developmental deficits, heart disease, and diabetes. In June 2011, the FDA’s own scientists found arsenic residue in chicken livers due to arsenical drugs that had been widely fed to poultry nationwide. This research prompted Canada to ban roxarsone. Additional research by Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland helped lead Maryland to became the first U.S. state to ban roxarsone and other arsenicals, and other states are considering banning arsenic drugs as well.

The EPA requires drinking water to contain arsenic levels below than 10 parts per billion. Why does the FDA allow arsenic levels hundreds of times higher than that?

The public needs to know that the FDA is committed to protect my family’s health and the environment, not the profits of roxarsone’s manufacturer, Pfizer, and other giant pharmaceutical companies.
I understand that instead of pursuing safe alternatives, the industry will soon be asking the FDA to approve even more new arsenic drugs. Enough is enough!

Will you commit to withdraw the FDA approval of roxarsone and other deadly arsenical drugs, and reject any future applications for approval of new arsenical drugs?

Thank you in advance for your prompt written reply.


[Your name]

Thank you!

Image of chickens courtesy of Shutterstock.

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