There are many reasons why you should switch to organically grown food. Not only non-organic vegetables are loaded with toxic pesticides, but the conventionally farmed animals are also given antibiotics and other chemicals. Of course, the fact that conventional farming negatively affects the environment cannot be neglected.
Recently, the FDA revealed yet another reason to switch to organic foods, especially chicken. This is due to the recent discovery that farmed chicken contains cancer-causing arsenic!
WHAT IS ARSENIC?
Arsenic is a chemical element which can be found in two forms: organic and inorganic. Even though organic arsenic is not good for you, the inorganic one is the most toxic for humans.
People are mostly exposed to inorganic arsenic through contaminated drinking water sources as well as food products like dairy, meat, fish, poultry and shellfish.
Arsenic poisoning is manifested by vomiting, muscle cramps, numbness, and stomach pain. In extreme cases, arsenic poisoning can be fatal.
Longer exposure to arsenic causes serious health issues, such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, skin lesions, neurotoxicity, and changes in pigmentation. However, cancer is the biggest health risk linked to long term exposure to cancer. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), arsenic and compounds found the arsenic are human carcinogens, including the arsenic found in drinking water and food products. Arsenic is believed to be a huge risk factor for skin cancer, but it has been linked to lung cancer and bladder cancer as well. The symptoms of arsenic toxicity and indicators of cancer can be detected after 5 years of chronic exposure to it.
ARSENIC IN CHICKEN
It has been found that less detrimental organic arsenic which is found in various chicken feed additives and other drugs actually turns into cancer-causing inorganic arsenic.
Consequently, the arsenic levels in chicken have been thoroughly analyzed by researchers from the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine and the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. Unfortunately, it has been found that the edible parts of chicken meat contained traces of inorganic arsenic.
As a result, most of the arsenic-based additives have been removed from use, including 3-Nitro, arsanilic acid, and carbarsone. The first and the second are weight gainers while the last one is used as preventive measure against infection.
However, even though most additives containing arsenic have been removed, the weight gainer called Histostat is still being used by commercial chicken farmers.
HOW TO AVOID ARSENIC IN CHICKEN
Switching to organic is the best way to avoid arsenic in chicken, despite the fact that many forms of both organic and conventionally farmed can still contain traces of arsenic.
According to a survey done by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, almost three-quarters of all breasts, thighs and livers from conventionally farmed chicken contained significant levels of arsenic. On the other hand, only one-third of organic chicken products contained traces of arsenic.
As a matter of fact, the results of this survey show that even though there is no way to avoid arsenic in chicken completely, switching to organic significantly reduces your exposure to it.