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Maryland to ban arsenic in chicken feed

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Gov. Martin O'Malley is expected to sign a bill this week that would make Maryland the first state to ban an arsenic additive in chicken feed.

Last month, state lawmakers passed a bill banning the use of Roxarsone, a chemical used to help the birds grow and fight parasites.

Pfizer Inc., which distributes Roxarsone, stopped selling the chemical in July after a U.S. Food and Drug Administration study found higher levels of inorganic arsenic in chicken treated with Roxarsone than in those that were not fed the chemical.

Arsenic is a known carcinogen. Opponents have said the measure isn't needed because Pfizer Inc. voluntarily suspended sales of the chemical.

The law would take effect Jan. 1.

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