Arsenic from Chicken?

I have been running hair analyses on children for years and finding evidence of all sorts of toxic metals: aluminum, antimony, arsenic, lead, cadmium, and so on. Rare is the child whose test comes back negative. Whatever you think about the validity of hair analysis, it’s hard to argue that these poisons belong in children’s hair. Where do they come from?

Arsenic, for one, might well be coming from chicken. According to a recent study, commercial chickens are laced with this poison, and this is not by accident. Arsenic is actually added on purpose to chicken feed to prevent parasites. I doubt these poisoned chickens could live out a normal life span, but I guess it doesn’t matter to the commercial breeders who are raising them for slaughter.

Of course, industry sources immediately responded to the study by saying that the amount of arsenic people ingest from eating chicken is well below safety thresholds. This may be true on average, but not for the 10% of Americans who consume the most chicken – and what about children who are addicted to chicken nuggets?

Besides, safety thresholds for poisons are hypothetical at best. How does below-threshold exposure to arsenic affect a child who has also been given mercury in vaccines? Arsenic is
a known neurotoxin and a cause of bladder and other cancers.

The study was published in the January 2004 issue of Environmental Health Perspectives. Find the abstract at You may also
read a commentary on this study at

In an unrelated story, the EPA’s ban on arsenic in treated wood went into effect last month. Apparently industry is now proposing to replace arsenic with hexavalent chromium (Cr6).

Cr6 was the environmental poison that was the subject of the movie Erin Brockovich (if you haven’t seen it it’s worth renting). The problem in this case is not that industry has criminal intent. It’s just an indication of how difficult it is to make wood that resists destruction by bugs and molds without harming humans at the same time. For more on this see

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