The Environmental Working Group, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group, tested the dogs and cats for carcinogens, neurotoxins, chemical fire retardants, stain-removing chemicals and heavy metals. The results: Pets were contaminated with dozens of chemicals, often at levels many times higher than found in people, according to the study. Among the contaminants were mercury, various perfluorochemicals used in non-stick cookware and stain-resistant carpets, as well as a number of chemical flame retardants found in sofa cushions, computers and televisions. When are pets exposed to these things? When they roll around on the carpet, for sure, but also when they eat pet food that contains fish contaminated with mercury. Also, when they clean themselves. The environmental group believes pets are exposed to the chemical flame retardants when they ingest contaminated dust -- believed to be the main route of human exposure, too.
Here you can read the full EWG report.
I'm working on a short story on the study for tomorrow's paper.
Perhaps the results of the study really shouldn't be surprising. The Star-Telegram in December 2006 published the results of a study we did in which we analyzed blood samples from 12 Tarrant County residents for a host of toxic chemicals. We found low-levels of chemical flame retardants in all of them, and perfluorochemicals in most of them.
The Environmental Working Group suggests that dogs and cats may serve as canaries in a coal mine, providing a heads up of human health problems that can arise from exposures to industrial chemicals. They say it underscores the need for better laws ensuring chemicals are reasonably shown to be safe before they are put into widespread use.
In the meantime, you can take some simple steps to protect your pet. They include choosing foods with more natural ingredients and less artificial coloring; choose a metal food bowl instead of plastic to avoid chemicals found in them; vacuum up dust more often; and take off your shoes before you come inside the house. Why take off your shoes? Because you track in pesticides and fertilizers from the yard, which your pet then rolls around in.
Source: By - Scott Streater