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Agriculture

China’s arsenic ban in animal feed will yield huge benefits, study predicts

by Britt E. Erickson
October 26, 2019 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 97, ISSUE 42

 

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China’s recent ban on the use of phenylarsonic additives in chicken and pig feed will result in about 1,160 fewer cases of human cancer and save nearly ¥600 million ($85 million) annually if the ban is fully enforced, according to a risk analysis by researchers at Peking University and the University of Iowa (Environ. Sci. Technol. 2019, DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.9b04296). Phenylarsonic additives, such as roxarsone and p-arsanilic acid, were used in many countries worldwide in concentrated animal feeding operations to promote growth and prevent disease in poultry and swine. Public health concerns over the potential for residues of inorganic arsenic—a human carcinogen—in animal tissue led the European Union to ban use of arsenic-containing feed additives in 1999. US and Canadian regulators followed suit in 2013, after manufacturers voluntarily stopped selling roxarsone in those countries. China, which is one of the world’s biggest producers of poultry and swine, has now joined the global effort to eliminate the use of arsenic in animal feed. China officially banned the use of phenylarsonic feed additives in May.

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