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Information for participants: Arsenic threshold reminder

Greyhound Racing Victoria reminds participants to ensure their greyhounds do not chew or lick CCA treated (tanalised) timber as it contains the prohibited substance arsenic.

A number of cases presented to the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board in recent months have seen greyhounds presented to race with levels of arsenic in their system exceeding the 800 ng/mL urinary threshold.

GAR 83 (11) was introduced in July 2016, and several communications have been published to assist participants in avoiding a breach of the arsenic threshold.

Some explanations from participants for elevated readings have been that the greyhounds in question have chewed CCA (Copper, Chromium and Arsenate) treated timber located in their kennels. CCA is used for timber preservation and it protects from dry rot, fungi, mould, termites and other pests that can threaten the integrity of timber products. Timber that is freshly treated with CCA has a greenish tinge that fades over time.

It has been suggested in some greyhound cases that chewing of CCA treated timber may have resulted in breaches of the 800 ng/mL urinary arsenic threshold. While this has not been proven scientifically, a reduction in urinary arsenic concentrations following removal from the affected kennels may in some ways partly explain these matters. Participants should, therefore, be mindful that chewing or licking of kennels/yards constructed with CCA treated timber may result in breaches of the threshold. If this does occur, urinary arsenic concentrations are likely to be below the threshold within 48 hours of being removed from the source.

Similarly, some seaweed-based animal nutritional supplements have been the likely cause of breaches of the arsenic threshold due to the high concentrations measured in them. It has also been raised in some inquiries that the feeding of sardines (or other seafood) close to racing was the cause of high arsenic readings. Although not proven, seafood can be regarded as potentially a major contributor to high arsenic levels in humans due to the contamination of seawater, and so participants should be mindful of the risk associated with feeding these products and as a precaution should avoid feeding them within 48 hours of racing.

While GRV accepts that in many of these cases there had been no intent to administer prohibited substances to the greyhounds, owners and trainers do have an obligation to prevent such situations from occurring.

Previous general alerts regarding arsenic were made on March 28, 2017, and June 23, 2017.

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