Chicken Farm Food Linked To Water Pollution

New research has revealed a troubling connection between chicken farming and water pollution. Arsenic that starts as a common product in large poultry farms has been ending up in agricultural soils and nearby streams and rivers.

According to studies by scientists at the USDA-Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the arsenic originates in a product called roxarsone that poultry farmers feed to their chickens to cause them to bulk up. The arsenic then passes through to the chicken waste, which is then used as a fertilizer around the country.

ARS scientists spent two years measuring arsenic levels in farm field runoffs and seven drainage ditches around the Delmarva Peninsula (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia), an area where large-scale poultry production has been thriving for decades.
Roxarsone, and chicken feed with arsenic in general, is banned in Europe and is being used gradually less as more studies surface about its associated hazards. One of the largest poultry farmers, Tyson, discontinued its use in 2006.