HC Deb 19 March 1998 vol 308 cc698-9W
Dr. Gibson

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what research he has evaluated into the presence of the BSE prion in water samples. [33770]

Angela Eagle

The Environment Agency is responsible for the regulation of waste disposal in England and Wales. Last year the Environment Agency published a number of quantitative assessments of the risks to public health from BSE via environmental pathways. This included the risk of the infective agent being ingested via drinking water. It was concluded that the risk to human health was very low, negligible compared to other risks in daily life. The reports, which were published on 25 June 1997 incorporated expert advice from the Government's independent advisory committee, the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (SEAC), were commissioned by the Agency and undertaken by Det Norse Veritas (DNV), an independent specialist risk assessment consultancy.