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From: TSS ()
Subject: WATER BOARD FLOUNDERS WITH CWD SAFETY, risk long term exposure to humans
Date: May 27, 2005 at 6:44 am PST

##################### Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy #####################

Water Board finalizing stance
Moving animal research site recommended in long term


Moving a Colorado Division of Wildlife animal research facility away from the city's raw water treatment plant is one of the long-term recommendations the city's Water Board will examine today.

A Water Board subcommittee said Wednesday there's no evidence that city water is in danger because of the proximity of the research site, 4330 W. LaPorte Ave., which is across the street from the water plant, but that it makes sense to create a "buffer" around the treatment plant.

"Do we really want sick animals of any kind around our water supply?" subcommittee and Water Board member Gina Janette asked.

At its outdoor facility, the DOW studies chronic wasting disease, a brain-wasting disease in deer and elk. Sick and healthy animals - including deer, elk, cattle and bighorn sheep - live in separate pens, and work at the site has led to much of the current knowledge about the illness.

Chronic wasting disease is related to bovine spongiform encephalopathy - also called mad cow disease in cattle, scrapie in sheep and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans.

The Water Board likely will decide today which recommendations to give to the City Council.

Two vocal residents, one from Boulder and one from Wellington, have questioned whether it's safe to have the research facility next door to the treatment plant, which produces drinking water for about 200,000 customers in the Fort Collins area. They say the malformed proteins, called prions, that cause chronic wasting disease and similar illnesses could blow from the research site into open ponds at the treatment plant that supply a small amount of water to city customers.

Research done at the DOW facility indicates the disease can live in the soil.

Experts say the risk of infection is miniscule and that a species barrier makes it unlikely that chronic wasting disease would jump from deer and elk to humans.

Colorado State University owns the land the research facility is on and began its own animal research at the site in the mid-1960s. The water treatment plant began operation in 1968.

Short-term recommendations from the water subcommittee Wednesday included continual evaluation of new chronic wasting disease research and prion-monitoring technology. Prions currently can't be detected in water.

The committee also recommended that the DOW use the best management practices available to minimize the risk of prions escaping the research site.

The Larimer County Board of Health and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment have said there is no evidence that the research site threatens public health.

Committee members said Wednesday that the city should pursue a buffer around its treatment plant, regardless of chronic wasting disease concerns.

"It's in the interest of the city that they move," said committee and Water Board member Johannes Gessler, who also said the issue was not an "immediate crisis."

Originally published May 26, 2005

> recommended in long term

what's the rush, why not just expose everyone to this agent...TSS


Draft minutes of the open session of the 87th meeting held on 21st April



The Conference Centre

Holiday Inn Bloomsbury

Coram Street




- 20 -

69. Dr Adkin added that it had been assumed that there was no

degradation of prion protein during the assumed 3 week non-

2 Arnold M. and Wilesmith J.W. (2003) Modelling studies on BSE occurrence to assist in the

review of the over thirty months rule in Great Britain. Proc Roy Soc Lond B 270, 2141-2145

grazing period. Members considered that should TSE agents

persist in soil, infectivity could accumulate over time. Dr Adkin

indicated that the accumulation of infectivity over time was not

addressed, as an exposure assessment had not been carried out.

In order for such accumulation to occur TSE infectivity would have

to be applied on multiple occasions to the same location, which

may be unlikely. One study indicated there would be 98% decay of

the agent over 3 years3. Dr Matthews observed that accumulation

would be against a backdrop of decreasing TSE prevalence. Mr

Wyllie added that Defra- and EU-funded research is being

conducted to investigate the behaviour and degradation of TSE

agents in soil.

70. A member considered that, since the TSE agent is a protein, it was

likely to decay quickly due to the pH of, and bacteria present in,

soil. However, a member pointed out good evidence suggesting

that the Chronic Wasting Disease agent persisted in the

environment. Dr Matthews informed members that a VLA project

on infectivity in sheep exposed to the farm environment indicated

that material on pasture is infectious for at least 2 months.

Members agreed that in view of the resistance of PrPsc to

degradation, evidence from CWD and the VLA studies, it was safer

to assume survival of the agent in soil for a significant amount of


71. In response to members' questions about the field spreading of

fertiliser, Alan Brewer (Defra) informed the committee that some

dust can arise from the activity, both from the fertiliser distribution

process (that depends on the type of spreading mechanism) and

from tractor wheels kicking up soil in arable situations. But it was

not possible to indicate whether there was any likelihood of dust

particles containing fertiliser drifting onto adjoining fields. He

added that it was recognised as good practice for farmers not to

spread fertiliser into hedges and watercourses.



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