by Lawrence Wilson, MD

© August 2013, The Center For Development


            Arsenic is a very toxic mineral.  Toxicity is also very common.  We call it the slow death mineral, because it causes rather vague symptoms that slowly poison a person.  Some people know that it was used as a medicine for syphilis, but it caused almost as many problems as the disease did. 


Arsenic as a human poison.  Up until about 100 years ago, it was also a rather common method used to kill a person one did not like, by adding a little arsenic to his or her food.  It is quite odorless and tasteless, so it makes a good poison in food.  It caused vague symptoms that were hard to trace.  Fortunately, hair and blood analysis today make it easy to identify, so it is not used as much for this purpose, today.

However, I have read reports of the communist Chinese using it in salt, particularly in Australia, to weaken the people.  Since this may be true, please avoid regular table salt in Australia and instead try to use a natural sea salt and note if it looks as if it has been tampered with.




Arsenic is sold as a pesticide, and it is added to some commercial chicken feed to kill certain molds and fungi that afflict chickens, especially those raised in unhealthy manners.  It shows up in the chicken itself, and in the eggs.  It can also find its way into the water supplies, and into all pig products, as they are fed chicken “byproducts”.

It was, and perhaps is used in the beer and wine industries, and wine is often contaminated with it to some degree.  It is also used as a pesticide on rice, especially in the Orient.  It can be used on other fruits and some vegetables and tobacco, for example.

It was formally used extensively to treat wood so that insects and termites would not eat the wood.  This use has diminished as the government has realized how toxic it is.

Arsenic is also used in mining operations, and sometimes is just a natural contaminant of some drinking water and soils. With this introduction, let us discuss more specific issues to do with arsenic.




These are often vague, but arsenic is a powerful nerve and enzyme poison.  It is associated with hundreds of symptoms, beginning with what may be called malaise, fatigue, vague aches and pains, weakness, dizziness and many neurological symptoms.  It can also cause blood disorders such as anemias, blood sugar disorders, and is implicated in several forms of cancer.

Specific toxic symptoms include:


enzyme inhibition






            impaired healing



            liver dysfunction

            hair loss

            sore throat

            kidney damage


            peripheral neuritis



            fluid loss



            muscle spasm





            abdominal pain


            abnormal ECG

            interferes with uptake of folic acid

            inhibition of sulfhydryl enzymes



These include iodine, selenium, and vitamin C, to some degree.




Š           The ideal hair arsenic level is probably about 0.007 to 0.009 mg%.  This is lower than some laboratories suggest, but with nutritional balancing we can reduce it to these levels. 

Š           Arsenic, as with all the toxic metals, may not be revealed on early hair tests when one is on a nutritional balancing program.  It is revealed later as it is eliminated from the body through the skin and hair.

Š           Most people have arsenic overload due to water and food contamination.

Š           At times, a very low arsenic reading appears on a hair mineral analysis.  An arsenic level below about 0.004 mg% or 0.04 ppm indicates a poor eliminator pattern related to arsenic. This means that a person has arsenic toxicity, due at least in part to an inability to eliminate it adequately.  This is an important pattern related to arsenic toxicity.




Arsenic is fairly easy to remove from the body using nutritional balancing science.  We do this on a daily basis with thousands of people.

Arsenic removal with nutritional balancing takes a while, however, up to a number of years.  This may be because it can settle deep in the nervous system, where it can cause many vague, unusual symptoms that vanish as the arsenic is slowly removed from the body.

Chelation therapy is also used for arsenic removal.  In my view, it is very unreliable, not very effective, and quite toxic.  It should always be avoided since nutritional balancing is a far better and safer method.  Read Chelation Therapy on this website for more on chelation.




            Most chicken sold in the supermarket has been fed a product called Roxsarone or many others.  It is used to kill certain molds, funguses and other organisms that infect chickens.  Some contend that it is used less and that Tyson Chicken, McDonalds and others have banned arsenic in their chicken.  However, for some reason, it keeps showing up in the chicken and eggs, and elsewhere.  At the end of this article is a recent newspaper story about the problem.  Sadly, one cannot believe the lies printed by the New York Times, the FDA, the USDA and other “official” sources on this subject.




Sadly, many wells are contaminated with arsenic in Iowa and other mid-Western states where pigs are raised in mass quantities.  The reason is that pgs are regularly fed all the chicken parts that human beings will not or cannot eat.  These are such things as the skin, necks, backs, bones and other parts.  Unfortunately, this is often where the arsenic collects.  The chicken sold in the marketplace is usually not too toxic, but the other chicken parts, as they are called, are often quite toxic. 

            After the pigs eat them, the pigs urinate, defecate and are slaughtered and their blood and other secretions go into the ground water.  Here they contaminate wells for miles around, and for years.  This is a very serious problem in Iowa and other mid-Western areas that the government is not addressing at this time.




            Stopping arsenic in the chicken feed, which would then clean up the pig feed and the water supplies in the mid-West, could occur quickly – overnight, in fact, by a decree from the US Department of Agriculture or USDA. 

However, this organization, like most government welfare groups, is highly corrupt and influenced by Tyson and other large chicken companies, who regularly pay off the bureaucrats and do other things to make sure they get what they want.  Thus nothing has been done about arsenic in chicken feed.

            What is helping far more, is the organic food movement, that will not tolerate arsenic pesticides in food.  However, even here the USDA has taken over making up organic “standards” that are a sham.  They allow the arsenic to be in the chicken to a degree, which is horrible and this government agency should be dissolved at once, as it is really just a tool of the large companies and making the situation worse. 

In fact, I believe if it were not for the USDA and their cronies in Congress, arsenic would be gone today from the chicken and Americans would be far healthier.  However, the USDA continues to allow it, just as they continue to allow many toxic chemicals and insane and unhealthful methods of raising animals, feeding them, pasteurizing milk when it is harmful, and horrendous methods of growing many food crops as well.

This agency is a horror, and it is a horror that does not make the nightly news, but I hope its demise will come very soon, and with it agriculture will be far better in the United States.  Do not believe anyone who tells you the USA needs the Department of Agriculture.  They make up phony nutritional standards and they twist the facts about nutrition in so many ways that I cannot begin to explain them all in this short, introductory article.




The Salt Lake Tribune

Published Sep 21, 2010 07:14PM


Christina McNaughton wasn’t sure where to begin looking when worrisome levels of arsenic turned up in two Utah County children last summer. The family’s water wasn’t contaminated. Not the soil either.  The trail eventually led McNaughton, a toxicologist for the Utah Department of Health, to the family’s backyard chicken coop — along with the eggs that came out of it, the feed that went into the hens that laid them and, finally, widely used animal-feed additives containing arsenic.  “For everyone who has backyard chickens,” said McNaughton, “this is an issue.”


But the Utah study goes far beyond a Mapleton chicken coop. The use of roxarsone and other arsenic-based additives in poultry and swine feed is at the center of a national controversy.  “Because we’ve turned a blind eye to what we put in our animal feed, we’re putting our children at risk,” said David Wallinga, director of the Minneapolis-based Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, an organization that is petitioning the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ban the arsenic additives.

“The two children in this study are poster children for that.”  The institute, which filed its ban request in December with the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Food Safety, argues that Americans are exposed to many potential sources of arsenic, a carcinogen. Why, it asks, does the United States allow arsenic to be added to the food supply when it’s not necessary?

While the Utah Health Department has no position on the petition, it does stand by its findings — the first of their kind — that arsenic from feed is winding up in eggs and the people who eat them.  McNaughton first heard from the Mapleton mother last spring, after tests showed her children’s urine contained excessive levels of arsenic. “She called me desperate that someone help her,” recalled McNaughton.

While the children hadn’t shown symptoms of arsenic poisoning, the daughter had double the arsenic deemed toxic, her son was 75 percent above the limit, and no one, including the poison-control center, could figure out why.

The mother had the water and soil tested, but those levels were about one-fifth the arsenic levels allowed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. So, she and McNaughton studied a list of foods the children eat. They zeroed in on eggs.

“Her kids liked eggs a lot,” said McNaughton, noting they each consumed about a dozen a week from the family’s backyard chickens.


A little research of the scientific literature suggested the link between the arsenic, the eggs and the feed. The American Chemical Society had noted that about 70 percent of U.S. broilers were fed roxarsone, the most widely used arsenic-based additive, according to McNaughton’s study.

And, although the poultry industry and regulators insist that virtually all of the additive is excreted, studies by Wallinga’s center in 2004 showed that all of the fast-food chicken the think tank tested contained elevated levels of arsenic and more than half of the store-bought chicken tested had notable levels of arsenic. In contrast, organic and boutique brands contained little or no arsenic, the group’s analysis found.

The FDA approved the use of roxarsone and its cousins in the mid-1940s, and Wallinga’s group estimates the agriculture industry uses up to 2.2 million pounds a year in the production of about 43 billion pounds of poultry meat. It’s combined with antibiotics to help chickens fend off diseases and grow bigger and tastier.

Meanwhile, in the environmental health arena, concern about arsenic has been growing. In its “organic” form, it’s relatively benign. But, when transformed into its inorganic form in the guts of animals and people, for instance, it becomes more hazardous.

High arsenic levels have been associated with cancer of the skin, bladder, kidney, liver and lungs, as well as immune system, endocrine and neurological problems.

The EPA has responded to the growing body of science on the hazards of arsenic by banning it as a wood preservative and in pesticides (but not chicken feed!, ed. note).  Regulators also slashed the levels of arsenic allowed in drinking water to concentrations of no more than 10 parts per million.

At the same time, EPA has made toxic cleanups of arsenic-contaminated sites a priority. In Utah, they include Superfund cleanups at International Smelting and Refining in Tooele, Eureka Mills in Juab County, Kennecott’s North Zone site in Magna, Midvale Slag and the Flagstaff and Davenport smelters at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon in Sandy.

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), the EPA’s toxics laboratory, gave the Health Department a grant to test eggs from the Mapleton family’s hens, as well as the feed they were eating. The state turned up arsenic concentrations of 1.9 parts per million in the feed and 0.055 ppm in the eggs. Although the FDA allows almost 10 times more arsenic in eggs than the Health Department measured, the children who ate the tainted eggs developed levels considered toxic by the ATSDR. And once the children stopped eating the family’s eggs, and once the chickens were given arsenic-free feed to eat, contamination levels declined, follow-up tests showed.

“We tested regular grocery store eggs,” McNaughton added, “and they did not have any arsenic.”


‘It’s not there’ » The Intermountain Farmers Association, which sells the feed the Mapleton family had fed its hens from the start, disputes the health department’s findings and is asking the agency to retract its study, said Layne Anderson, vice president for agricultural operations.  He said there is no roxarsone — nor any other arsenic-containing additive — in the co-op’s feed. In fact, there’s none at any of its facilities in five states, Anderson said.

“It’s not in there,” he said of the company’s chicken feed. “The levels of arsenic would be much higher if that was in it.”  He said the arsenic found in the feed tested at the Health Department reflects nothing more than background levels, and it is irresponsible to suggest otherwise.

“I’m concerned if there’s arsenic in our customers’ bodies,” he added, “but it’s not coming from our feed.”

McNaughton acknowledged that her agency did not test specifically for Roxarsone.  Still, she noted that the arsenic levels in the Mapleton children, the family’s eggs and their hens’ original food were excessive.

“It doesn’t matter where the arsenic is coming from,” she said. “It’s high enough to exceed the maximum risk level.”  She also noted that her agency is not advocating that people drop IFA chicken feeds. It just wants people to know that if their young children eat a lot of eggs — two a day or more— that arsenic can increase to levels of concern.

“It’s a very small part of the population,” (no it is not!, ed note) she said, noting that adults and children eating fewer eggs would not be harmed by the levels found in their study. “We want people to be educated.”

Back in Minneapolis, Wallinga’s group and the 10 other organizations supporting it are still waiting for the FDA’s response to its petition to ban the arsenic additives. He noted that they have never been allowed in Europe, which calls inorganic arsenic levels too high at less than half the level deemed minimum risk levels set by the ATSDR.

“It’s completely unnecessary,” Wallinga said, adding that the Utah study suggests people simply don’t know the additive is in their feed.

“With the FDA not testing the feed,” he added, “how do we know?”


FDA spokesman Ira Allen said in an e-mail that FDA’s assessments have found no evidence “that residues of total arsenic in animal-derived food are exceeding the established tolerances.” He also noted that the agency is looking into recent reports about the conversion of organic arsenic into inorganic forms.

“FDA is actively gathering additional information to address these emerging questions,” Allen concluded. “FDA will initiate the appropriate action once a determination is made as to whether the approved uses of arsenic-containing drugs in animal feed pose a risk to public health.”

In the meantime, the movement to ban arsenic additives in food is picking up.  U.S. Rep. Steve Israel, D-New York, has introduced legislation to outlaw the practice and two dozen health, environment and food-safety organizations are backing the bill.

Douglas Gansler, the attorney general of Maryland, made the same arguments in an opinion piece published last fall in The Washington Post.

“The poultry industry’s continued use of arsenic creates unnecessary and avoidable risks to our health and environment,” he concluded. “The FDA has delayed banning this poison from our diet for far too long. If offered a side order of arsenic with my chicken, I’d say no. Wouldn’t you?”



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