ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The state Senate signed off on a bill to ban a chicken feed additive containing arsenic.

The chamber approved a House of Delegates version the measure Thursday.

The bill bans the sale of roxarsone, a chemical used to help the birds grow and fight parasites.

Opponents of the legislation say the bill threatens Maryland’s Eastern Shore chicken industry and is not necessary because Pfizer Inc. has voluntarily suspended the sale of the chemical.

Sponsors of the legislation say the arsenic additive contaminates chicken meat and waste, polluting soil and the
Chesapeake Bay.

The legislation has been amended to terminate the ban should the U.S. Food and Drug Administration determine the chemical is safe.

Differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill still need to be reconciled.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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