Study Shows Arsenic And Cobalt Levels Dropping
Arsenic and cobalt concentrations in greyhound urine samples have fallen considerably since 2015, according to the findings of an independent study.
The independent study was commissioned by Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) and Greyhound Racing Victoria, and undertaken by Emeritus Professor Dr Brynn Hibbert from the School of Chemistry at the University of NSW.
As part of the study, more than 18,000 race day urine samples collected in Australia between July 2016 and June 2017 were analysed for traces of arsenic and cobalt.
Under the Greyhounds Australasia Rules, arsenic over the level of 800 ng/ml is declared as a prohibited substance, while cobalt over the level of 100 ng/ml is declared as a prohibited substance.
Of the samples analysed, 0.1% (or 22 in total) exceeded 800 ng/ml of arsenic, while the median concentration of arsenic in all samples was 20 ng/ml.
Meanwhile, 0.1% of samples (or 23 in total) exceeded the cobalt threshold of 100 ng/ml, with the median concentration of cobalt in all samples found to be 1.2 ng/ml.
The findings demonstrated a decrease compared to the concentration of arsenic and cobalt found in urine samples collected in 2015. Of the 2,849 samples analysed for arsenic, 0.4% exceeded 800 ng/ml and the median was 22 ng/mL. Of the 762 samples analysed for cobalt, 4.1% exceeded 100 ng/ml and the median was 3.4 ng/mL.
Given the data, Professor Hibbert calculated that the probability of a regularly functioning greyhound being over the arsenic threshold to be at the most 1 in 79,526 chance, while the probability of a greyhound being over the cobalt threshold to be at the most 1 in 1,105,800 chance.
GRNSW Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Rick Symons said the drop in arsenic and cobalt concentrations highlights the effectiveness of the arsenic and cobalt thresholds that have been introduced by all greyhound racing jurisdictions.
“The threshold levels for both cobalt and arsenic were set following rigorous testing of the greyhound population. The results from this study once again prove that trainers can have confidence that the levels are appropriate. As long as trainers maintain the sensible use of substances containing cobalt and arsenic they can have some assurance that they are not likely to see the adverse impacts of overuse in their dogs,” Dr Symons said.