BLOOMINGTON, Ind., April 26 (UPI) -- Toxic flame retardant chemicals have been found in the blood of pet dogs at concentrations five to 10 times higher than in humans, U.S. researchers say.
Indiana University scientists, writing in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, say pets could serve as "biosentinels" for monitoring human exposure to compounds present in the households they share.
The study focused on the presence of polybrominated diphenyl ethers, compounds widely used as flame retardants in household furniture and electronics equipment that can migrate out of the products and enter the environment, a university release reported Tuesday.
"Even though they've been around for quite awhile, we don't know too much about these compounds' toxicological effects on humans or animals," Marta Venier, a research scientist in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, said. "The bottom line is that we still need to keep measuring them, particularly in homes."
The researchers analyzed flame retardants in blood from 17 pet dogs, all of whom live primarily indoors, and found average concentration of PBDEs in the blood of about 2 nanograms per gram, about five to 10 times higher than levels found in humans in the few studies of human exposure that have been done in North America.