Study finds high levels of toxic chemicals in house cats

"The brominated flame retardants that have been measured in cats are known endocrine disruptors," researcher Jana Weiss said.
By Brooks Hays   |   Feb. 24, 2017 at 4:20 PM
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Feb. 24 (UPI) -- Your cat is a repository for chemicals in your home. As scientists suspected, tests show harmful chemicals can accumulate in the blood of healthy cats.

Researchers measured significantly elevated levels of brominated flame retardants, BFRs, in feline blood samples. BFRs are a class of chemical compounds used to make electronics, clothes and furniture less combustible. Studies have shown heightened levels of BFRs to have negative health impacts.

The latest research, detailed in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, show BFRs can become dust particles and be incorporated into the blood streams of indoor cats.

"By taking paired samples, we have greater insight into the environment that the cats live in," Jana Weiss, a chemist and environmental scientist at Stockholm University, said in a news release. "Moreover the cats in the study spent the majority of their time indoors and therefore air and dust in the home is expected to contribute more than the outdoor environment."

Researchers hope their findings inspire further exploration of the links between dust exposure and the accumulation of toxins like BFRs. Due to their tendency to put anything and everything in their mouths, toddlers and small children have exposure levels similar to cats.

"The brominated flame retardants that have been measured in cats are known endocrine disruptors," Weiss said. "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."

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