LONDON — The United Kingdom is a major chicken exporter, exporting about 3.5 million tonnes of poultry each year.
But it’s also a major producer of chemicals that can damage the environment.
In 2010, the United Kingdom banned the use of brominated flame retardants in poultry.
The European Union and Japan are the only two countries in the world that still use them.
In 2012, the British government approved the sale of up to 300,000 tons of these toxic chemicals annually.
That’s the equivalent of a fifth of the country’s entire poultry production.
And it’s a growing problem, as the U.K. imports more than 80% of its poultry from overseas.
“There’s a lot of people that say, ‘I’ll buy chicken if it’s safe to do so, but I’m afraid that the chemicals in the poultry will destroy the environment, so I’m not going to,'” said Tom Liddell, the environmental scientist who authored the new report.
“And that’s exactly the opposite of the truth.”
So in May 2012, Liddett and his team at the University of Sussex created a new method for calculating the environmental impact of boron, a commonly used additive that can be used to make the chemicals.
They found that the impact of using the additive was a whopping 1.2 times higher than using the same amount of chlorine dioxide in conventional processing.
They then looked at the impact on birds’ health and concluded that it could have significant consequences on their health and the health of humans.
In a 2012 report, the European Union said that borons pose a risk to health in humans.
“The use of chemical additive compounds in poultry may have serious consequences for human health, and for the environment,” said the EU Commission in a 2012 statement.
The British government has been investigating the use and possible impact of the additive for years.
In 2011, it said it was considering banning the additive, saying that it posed a risk of “systemic and societal impacts.”
In 2014, the government said it would require suppliers to reduce the use or stop using it entirely by 2022.
In 2016, the U and UK banned the additive from poultry, and the European Commission said in June that it had received enough information to make a recommendation.
But Liddells team, which is led by Dr. Paul Boudreaux, is challenging the ban.
“This is the most complex issue that we have faced, and this has never been done before in the history of the British chicken industry,” Boudres said.
“I think this is the first time in our country where we’ve been asked to do something that we didn’t think was necessary.”
In the report, published online this week in Environmental Science and Technology, Lidles team said the problem was so widespread that it needed to be addressed in a way that was both feasible and cost effective.
They concluded that the government should adopt a policy to phase out the use in poultry plants by 2021.
The study also pointed out that the additive could be a boon for the British economy.
“In the United States, it’s cheaper than alternatives like chlorine dioxide, and in Europe it’s much more environmentally friendly than it is here,” Burdes said.
The report’s authors also pointed to the potential benefits to other food products as well.
The researchers say the additive can be a useful additive for organic poultry, but it could also be used in other products like salad dressings or sauces.
“If you can do that with the right balance of environmental and health considerations, you could actually get an environmental benefit,” Beddes said, adding that it would also be cheaper than conventional chemicals.
Bedds, who is also a professor at the Department of Environmental Science, said he was proud to have the work done in his own country.
“It’s a bit like the Great Barrier Reef, the biggest thing we’ve got going on in the ocean,” he said.
Burds added that the researchers did their research in a vacuum, relying on government data and relying on a paper by British scientists.
“They looked at what the data showed and they did what they needed to do,” he added.
“So that was a very efficient process, because we don’t have the whole picture.”
Beddres and Liddles say they are confident the study will be a game-changer in the debate over chemicals in poultry, because of the large amount of data and because of what the researchers were able to find.
“We’re very proud of the fact that we’ve achieved something really significant in the environmental field,” Bidds said.