Household Product Labeling
Rep. Israel’s bill is endorsed by: Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments; American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees; American Federation of Government Employees; Blue Green Alliance; Breast Cancer Fund; Brazilian Immigrant Center; Brazilian Women’s Group; the Breast Cancer Fund, California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative; Citizens’ Environmental Coalition; Clean and Healthy New York; CleanWell; Commmunications Workers of America; Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice; EcoStore USA; Electronics TakeBack Coalition; Empire State Consumer Project; Environmental and Public Health Consulting; Environmental Health Fund; Environmental Working Group;, Health Care Without Harm; Farmworker Association of America; GreenBlendz; Greenpeace; Health Law & Policy Institute, University of Houston Law Center; Health Professionals and Allied Employees, Local 5094 (NJ); Healthy Child, Healthy World; Hesperian Health Guides; Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition/Prevention is the Cure; Informed Green Solutions; Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy; International Brotherhood of Teamsters; International Chemical Workers Union Council/UFCW; Kentucky Environmental Foundation; Mitchell Environmental Health Associates; Mt. Sinai Irving J. Selikoff Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine; National Council for Occupational Safety and Health; OMB Watch; Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility; Preventing Harm Minnesota; Projects for Environmental Health, Knowledge, and Action, Inc.; Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations; University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health; Vida Verde Women’s Co-Op; WE ACT for Environmental Justice; Western New York Council on Occupational Safety and Health; and Women’s Health Institute.
According to federal estimates, the average American adult consumes more than 60 pounds of poultry a year. However, much of this poultry contains a harmful form of arsenic from a drug added to their feed in order to make the birds grow faster and to make their meat appear artificially more pink. Inorganic arsenic has been linked to cancer, skin lesions, neurological symptoms such as headaches and delirium, diabetes, and other health problems.
The drug is called roxarsone and is an arsenic-containing antimicrobial drug. Some of the arsenic fed to chickens remains in the edible portions of the birds. Arsenic has also been found in poultry waste, where it poses environmental and human health risks during disposal. The industry claims that roxarsone only contains organic arsenic, which is not toxic. However, a study by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of 100 broiler chickens found inorganic arsenic at higher levels in those treated with roxarsone than those that were not.
The FDA regulates tolerance levels for animal drug residue. But the tolerance levels for arsenic in edible animal tissue are more than three decades old, predating the latest cancer and arsenic exposure research. Rep. Israel’s Poison-Free Poultry Act (H.R.1487) bans roxarsone for use as an additive in the U.S. food supply. Although the manufacturer of roxarsone voluntarily suspended sale of the drug in response to the FDA’s study, it is only voluntary and the company may restart its sale at any time. Further, there is no system tracking which ingredients manufacturers put in their feed.
In 2012, Maryland became the first state to ban roxarsone and Congress should follow its lead. Rep. Israel’s legislation is endorsed by Center for Biological Diversity; Center for Food Safety; Citizens Campaign for the Environment; The Clean Water Network; Food & Water Watch; Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT); Friends of the Earth; Friends of Family Farmers; Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition; The Humane Society of the United States; Illinois Citizens for Clean Air & Water; Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy; Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future; Leukemia & Lymphoma Society; National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition; Ohio Environmental Council; Organic Consumers Association; Sierra Club; Union of Concerned Scientists, and Waterkeeper Alliance.
Making Medicine Cups Safe
A recent study published in the December 2010 Journal of the American Medical Association found that 99 percent of medicine cups and dosage devices were flawed, including confusing instructions and extraneous markings. According to the FDA’s Guidance for Industry on the issue, “OTC [over-the-counter] liquid drug products in the marketplace are packaged with dosage delivery devices that bear markings that are inconsistent with the labeled dosage directions.… There have been numerous reports of accidental overdose that were attributed, in part, to markings on measured dosage cups for OTC liquid drug products that were misleading or incompatible with the labeled dosage directions for use.”
Rep. Israel has introduced new legislation called the Protecting Our Kids’ Medicine Act (H.R. 338) to impose mandatory requirements on medicine cups and dosage devices, making them easier to use and safer for our children and families. For more information on the legislation, click here.