07 April 2017

RESEARCH - Cats Test Positive for Harmful Chemicals Found in House Dust

A Swedish study has confirmed that high levels of brominated flame retardants measured in cats are from the dust in homes.

The study is part of an ongoing project called MiSSE (Mixture Assessment of Endocrine Disrupting Compounds).

The project aims to identify and evaluate the mix of endocrine disruptors in indoor environments.

The study showed that cats are exposed to chemicals found in electronics and furniture - chemicals that become dust and can adversely affect health.

The results are very interesting because small children, notorious for putting everything in their mouths, are exposed to these chemicals as well.

“The brominated flame retardants that have been measured in cats are known endocrine disruptors. It’s particularly serious when small children ingest these substances because exposure during the development can have consequences later in life, such as thyroid disease”, says Jana Weiss at the Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry, Stockholm University.

In a previous study, the researchers demonstrated that brominated flame retardants were found in higher concentrations in the blood of cats that had developed feline hyperthyroidism compared to healthy cats.

Brominated flame retardants are added to textiles, furniture and electronic equipment to prevent the material from igniting.

Many have been found to be health hazards and banned, however they are very persistent and can leach from products for many years after they have been produced.

Researchers took blood samples from cats and gathered dust in the children's room, the adults' bedroom and the living room.

The samples were analyzed and the chemicals found were not only those that are currently in use, but also some that have been banned for decades.

To avoid exposure researchers recommend:
  • Clean regularly to remove dust
  • When buying new textiles, furniture, electronics, etc., choose ecologically certified or environmentally friendly products
  • When buying a new product, ask the retailer or manufacturer about the chemicals used in the manufacturing process.

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