Bill S7450-2011

Prohibits the manufacture, distribution, sale and use of commercial feed for poultry containing roxarsone or any substance containing arsenic

Prohibits the manufacture, distribution, sale and use of commercial feed for poultry containing roxarsone or any substance containing arsenic; violation of such provisions shall constitute a class A misdemeanor.

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  • May 21, 2012: REFERRED TO AGRICULTURE

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S7450

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the agriculture and markets law, in relation to the manufacture, distribution, sale and use of commercial feed for poultry containing roxarsone or any other substance that contains arsenic

PURPOSE: This legislation prohibits a person from manufacturing, selling, or distributing within the State any commercial feed intended for use as poultry feed that contains roxarsone or any other additive that contains arsenic.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section one amends the agriculture and markets law by adding a new section 131-a. The proposed legislation prohibits a person from manufacturing, selling, or distributing within the State any commercial feed intended for use as poultry feed that contains roxarsone or any other additive that contains arsenic. Moreover, it provides that any person that violates the subdivision shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor.

Section two establishes that this law shall take effect on the thirtieth day after it shall have become law.

JUSTIFICATION: Most major poultry producers in this country were adding an arsenic compound called roxarsone to their chicken feed, purportedly to fight parasites and increase growth in chickens. Inorganic arsenic is a Class A carcinogen that has been linked to heart disease, diabetes and a reduction in brain functionality. Recent studies show that most Americans are routinely exposed to between three and eleven times the Environmental Protection Agency's recommended safety limit of the additive. Roxarsone is proven to promote the growth of blood vessels in chicken, making the meat appear pinker and more attractive in its packaging, but does little else. The additive does the same in human cells, fueling a growth process known as angiogenesis, a critical first step in many human diseases such as cancer.

Roxarsone also presents health risks to farmers who work with the chemical or with fertilizers. Poultry farmers have reported illness from contact with roxarsone while preparing feed. Additionally, many smaller poultry farms rely on contracts with larger poultry producers that mandate the use of arsenic in chicken feed, making the health risks associated with roxarsone unavoidable for smaller farms. While several large poultry producers have discontinued the use of roxarsone for their animals, as recently as 2006, 70% of the more than 9 billion broiler chickens produced annually in this country were fed roxarsone.

In addition to the toxins consumed at the dinner table, American broiler chickens generate billions of pounds of animal waste each year, causing significant arsenic runoff into soil and surrounding waterways. The dangerous levels of arsenic in chicken manure ultimately contaminate crops, nearby bodies of water, fertilized lawns and may even reach drinking water.

In 2011, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found higher levels of inorganic arsenic in the livers of chickens treated with the drug than in the livers of untreated chickens. This was the first study to demonstrate that raising chickens with roxarsone leads to the accumulation of inorganic arsenic in poultry tissues, rendering them toxic. The FDA concluded that using roxarsone leads to a "completely avoidable exposure to a carcinogen."

Sales of roxarsone were recently voluntarily suspended by Alpharma, a subsidiary of Pfizer Inc., in response to the FDA study. Pfizer announced in June 2011 that the suspension would go into effect in July 2011, allowing poultry producers a month to adjust to the suspension.

I applauded the FDA for persuading roxarsone's manufacturer, Alpharma/Pfizer, to voluntarily suspend sales of the drug, however more must be done to ensure we are not exposed to such dangerous levels of arsenic. I therefore respectfully requested that the FDA completely ban the use of roxarsone and other arsenic-based drugs from being used in chicken feed.

The decision remains with Pfizer whether to continue its self-imposed moratorium. As a result, I am advocating that New York State prohibit a person from manufacturing, selling, or distributing within the State any commercial feed intended for use as poultry feed that contains roxarsone or any other additive that contains arsenic.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: None.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.

EFFECTIVE DATE: The thirtieth day after it shall have become law.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 7450 IN SENATE May 21, 2012 ___________
Introduced by Sen. GIANARIS -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Agriculture AN ACT to amend the agriculture and markets law, in relation to the manufacture, distribution, sale and use of commercial feed for poultry containing roxarsone or any other substance that contains arsenic THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The agriculture and markets law is amended by adding a new section 131-a to read as follows: S 131-A. COMMERCIAL FEED FOR POULTRY; ROXARSONE PROHIBITED. 1. NO PERSON IN THIS STATE SHALL MANUFACTURE, DISTRIBUTE, SELL OR USE ANY COMMERCIAL FEED FOR POULTRY, AS DEFINED IN SUBDIVISION SIXTEEN OF SECTION NINETY-B OF THIS CHAPTER, WHICH CONTAINS ROXARSONE OR ANY OTHER SUBSTANCE THAT CONTAINS ARSENIC. 2. ANY PERSON THAT VIOLATES SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION SHALL BE GUILTY OF A CLASS A MISDEMEANOR AS DEFINED IN THE PENAL LAW. S 2. This act shall take effect on the thirtieth day after it shall have become a law.

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