Correspondence Volume 121 | Issue 9 | September 2013
Arsenic Levels in Chicken: Nachman et al. Respond
Citation: Nachman KE, Baron PA, Raber G, Francesconi KA, Love DC. Arsenic levels in chicken: Nachman et al. respond. Environ Health Perspect 121:A267–A268 (2013); http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1307083R
Address correspondence to K.E. Nachman, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The authors declare they have no actual or potential competing financial interests.
Published: 1 September 2013
PDF Version 82 KB
In our paper (Nachman et al. 2013) we focused on dietary arsenic exposure from the use of arsenic-based drugs in food animal production, specifically chicken. We thank Lasky for broadening the discussion on arsenic regulations for food to include federal agencies beyond the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The results of our study (Nachman et al. 2013) indicate that the use of arsenic-based drugs increases the levels of inorganic arsenic in chicken meat. Based on these findings, we recommend banning the use of arsenic-based drugs in food animal production, which are under the jurisdiction of the FDA. It is important, however, to recognize the potential role that could be played by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) under its National Residue Program (NRP).
Under its mandate, the NRP facilitates the monitoring of arsenic levels in poultry products and supports enforcement actions for animal products in violation of arsenic standards (USDA FSIS 2012). Unfortunately, the NRP faces constraints (in addition to those noted by Lasky) that limit its effectiveness (Silbergeld and Nachman 2008). The most important of these constraints is the current arsenic standard for meat, which was set before 1963 (FDA 1963) and does not account for recent epidemiologic research. In addition, the standard applies to total arsenic concentrations rather than to inorganic arsenic, the species of greatest health relevance. Because arsenic can be present in food in various forms that have widely varying toxicity, standards might need to be species specific.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently revising its toxicological assessment for inorganic arsenic (U.S. EPA 2010) as part of its Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) program. The purpose of this revision is to produce health-based guidance that can be useful in setting arsenic standards in different media (including foods) that reflect our current understanding of dose–response relationships between arsenic exposures and adverse health outcomes. To achieve this goal, coordination between the FDA, U.S. EPA, and NRP is essential. By applying appropriate standards and methods with adequate sensitivity for the arsenic species of interest, the NRP could play a central role in minimizing dietary exposure to arsenic through animal products.
Although sale of roxarsone remains suspended in the United States, nitarsone, a chemically similar arsenical drug, continues to be sold (Zoetis 2013). Industry statements in the media have confirmed nitarsone use in the turkey industry (Aubrey 2013), and the USDA estimates of per capita turkey consumption are increasing (USDA 2013). Research is needed to characterize potential contributions of nitarsone to inorganic arsenic concentrations in turkey meat. For these reasons, monitoring efforts remain relevant. In the absence of regulations that limit inorganic arsenic in our foods, the banning of arsenic-based drugs would minimize dietary arsenic exposures in poultry consumers.
Aubrey A. 2013. How Trace Amounts of Arsenic End Up in Grocery Store Meat. Available: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/05/15/184261664/how-trace-amounts-of-arsenic-end-up-in-grocery-store-meat [accessed 12 June 2013].
Nachman KE, Baron PA, Raber G, Francesconi KA, Navas-Acien A, Love DC. 2013. Roxarsone, inorganic arsenic, and other arsenic species in chicken: a U.S.-based market basket sample. Environ Health Perspect 121:818–824; doi:10.1289/ehp.1206245.
USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) FSIS (Food Safety and Inspection Service). 2012. National Residue Program for Meat, Poultry, and Egg Products: 2012 Residue Sampling Plans. Available: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/PDF/2012_Blue_Book.pdf [accessed 13 June 2013].
USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture). 2013. World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates. Available: http://www.usda.gov/oce/commodity/wasde/latest.pdf [accessed 13 June 2013].
U.S. EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). 2010. IRIS Toxicological Review of Inorganic Arsenic (Cancer) (2010 External Review Draft). EPA/635/R-10/001. Washington, DC:U.S. EPA. Available: http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncea/iris_drafts/ recordisplay.cfm?deid=219111 [accessed 24 October 2012].
Zoetis. 2013. Histostat Type A Medicated Article. Available: http://online.zoetis.com/US/EN/Products/Pages/Histostat.aspx [accessed 12 June 2013].
2015 Impact Factor
EHP is pleased to announce its new impact factor of 8.44, up from 7.98 last year. We thank our authors, associate editors, reviewers, and readers for their contributions and support.
CEHN June 2016 Article of the Month
“Intrauterine Inflammation and Maternal Exposure to Ambient PM2.5 during Preconception and Specific Periods of Pregnancy: The Boston Birth Cohort” (doi:10.1289/EHP243 ) has been selected by the Children’s Environmental Health Network (CEHN) as its June 2016 Article of the Month. These CEHN summaries discuss the potential policy implications of current children’s environmental health research.
Attention, Authors: New Submission System
EHP is now using Editorial Manager for manuscript submissions. All user accounts have been transferred to Editorial Manager—just log into Editorial Manager and reset your password. Editorial Manager offers an in-depth help index; for further questions, contact email@example.com. We hope you enjoy using our streamlined new submission system!
Sign Up to Receive E-mail Alerts
Recent Advance Publications
Feasibility of Deploying Inhaler Sensors to Identify the Impacts of Environmental Triggers and Built Environment Factors on Asthma Short-Acting Bronchodilator Use
Historical Prediction Modeling Approach for Estimating Long-Term Concentrations of PM2.5 in Cohort Studies before the 1999 Implementation of Widespread Monitoring
Towards More Comprehensive Projections of Urban Heat-Related Mortality: Estimates for New York City under Multiple Population, Adaptation, and Climate Scenarios
DNA Methylation Score as a Biomarker in Newborns for Sustained Maternal Smoking during Pregnancy
Perinatal DDT Exposure Induces Hypertension and Cardiac Hypertrophy in Adult Mice