Household Chemicals Sickening Cats

Flame retardants used on furniture could be hurting humans, too
By Heather McPherson,  Newser User
Posted Aug 16, 2007 12:21 PM CDT
Household Chemicals Sickening Cats
"We know there is an association between indoor living for cats and hyperthyroidism," said Linda Birnbaum, a senior author of the study and the EPA's director of experimental toxicology. "Our paper does show cats are highly exposed and hyperthyroidism may be due to the high PBDEs. More studies are needed...   (

Cats are falling ill with thyroid disease caused by toxic flame retardants found in household dust and some pet food, says the EPA. Chemicals known as PBDEs—polybrominated diphenyl ethers—found in consumer products and furniture are mimicking hormones which send a cat's thyroid into overdrive. Since humans are the only other mammal with a high rate of hyperthyroidism, the common chemicals could be affecting them, too.

"It is clear that house cats may be able to serve as sentinels for indoor exposure to PBDEs for humans who share their houses," said a leading expert on hormone-altering chemicals. Symptoms of the cat-killing ailment include weight loss, rapid heartbeat and irritability; its frequency has spiked since the 1980s, when the retardants were introduced, the Los Angeles Times reports, (More thyroid stories.)

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