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Rep. Israel Calls On FDA To Expedite Study Into Potentially Carcinogenic Turkey Drug

L.I. Congressman Urged Feds On Day Before Thanksgiving
Rep. Steve Israel holds a roasted turkey as he urges the FDA to expedite its study into an arsenic-based drug given to the birds, Nov. 27, 2013. (credit: Sophia Hall/WCBS 880)

Rep. Steve Israel holds a roasted turkey as he urges the FDA to expedite its study into an arsenic-based drug given to the birds, Nov. 27, 2013. (credit: Sophia Hall/WCBS 880)

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MELVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Just ahead of Thanksgiving, Long Island Congressman Steve Israel has called on the federal government to finish its investigation into a possible carcinogen given to turkeys.

As WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported, Rep. Israel warned that getting served overcooked turkey should be the least of your worries on Thanksgiving Day,

An arsenic-based drug called nitarsone is given to turkeys to prevent a disease in the birds and the FDA is looking into whether to drug elevates the arsenic level in the mean beyond what would occur naturally.

Rep. Israel has called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to complete its study by the end of this year as to whether that drug may cause cancer in those who consume turkey.

“Nitarsone is used to fight a disease in turkeys that can kill them. Well, I understand that we want to fight diseases in turkey so that they don’t get killed. But we should not allow that to cause cancer among people who are eating those turkeys,” Rep. Israel said. “I understand the need to study, evaluate and review. You cannot endlessly study, evaluate and review.”

Doctors said eating turkey is moderation is OK, but said eating turkey every day could allow the drug build up in your system and cause cancers including bladder and skin cancer, Hall reported.

Arsenic is a known carcinogen. Rep. Israel noted that the FDA recently withdrew its approvals of three similar arsenic-based drugs due to cancer concerns.

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