Thursday, November 3, 2011
7 News Investigations: Poison On Your Plate?
Many of us skip beef for chicken thinking it's healthier to eat, but you may be playing chicken with poison. 7's Craig Stevens shows us why there might be too much of a good thing in tonight's Special Report.
WSVN -- When it came to her health 37-year-old Amanda Church thought she was doing everything right.
Amanda Church: "I exercised. I ate healthy."
So she couldn't understand why she constantly felt sick.
Amanda Church: "I had severe stomach aches all the time. I was very lethargic, didn't have any energy. I went to five different doctors and they kept saying the same thing, you're rundown, you're stressed."
But it was something much bigger. Tests this past summer would finally show Amanda had high levels of arsenic in her body.
Amanda Church: "It was basically causing an auto-immune disease, my own body was attacking itself constantly that's why I was always sick."
Even more shocking, doctors say the culprit was chicken.
Amanda Church: "I had been eating it for every meal thinking I was doing the right thing."
Dr. David Blyweiss-Functional Medicine: "We've known for years that we were pumping our chicken breasts with an arsenic compound. We didn't think it would be a huge issue."
This past June, the FDA released a study showing a chemical used in chicken feed called 3-nitro, also known as roxarsone was passing arsenic into the edible parts of the bird. The FDA stresses the levels of arsenic detected were very low and not a health risk. But doctors we talked to say some patients may have a reason to be concerned.
Dr. David Blyweiss-Functional Medicine: "Over time you accumulate it, most people get rid of it on a daily basis. If you have enough nutrients your body is wonderful and is made to get rid of a lot of these toxins, but you can be overwhelmed it by eating too much of something or you don't have enough of something else to get rid of it."
Which is what doctors say happened to Amanda she has since changed her diet.
Amanda Church: "Everything began to fall back into place. I started feeling better and my energy levels were back."
Meanwhile, most chicken producers say as of the end of July they have stopped using the compound in their feed.
Dr. David Blyweiss-Functional Medicine: "We don't know that all the chicken factories, if they are not going to be using it there may be stores of it. There are people that have it frozen for years."
Doctor Blyweiss says to protect yourself and change your shopping habits when it comes to chicken.
Dr. David Blyweiss-Functional Medicine: "Look to buy grass fed or free range organic meats."
So you won't have to play chicken with your health.
Doctors say people often switch to fish but that also could increase your mercury intake. They suggest eating pacific northwest or arctic fish like salmon, cod, herring, sardines and mackerel.