Flame Retardants May Make Cats Sick

It’s well known that flame retardants have potentially harmful effects on children, but now, it turns out, they may also affect cats.

Investigators for the American Chemical Society (ACS) found that cats with hyperthyroidism had high levels of certain flame retardants.

The finding was published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.

The researchers said that more than 10 percent of older cats develop hyperthyroidism, a hormonal disorder that can cause weight loss, hyperactivity, aggression, vomiting and other symptoms. In humans, the condition has been linked to Graves’ disease and iodine deficiency.

Flame retardants leach from plastics and furniture, and accumulate in dust that can end up on cats’ fur, according to an ACS news release. The meticulous grooming habits of felines make them especially liable to exposure to these compounds.

The researchers tested blood samples from pet felines in Sweden – 37 hyperthyroid cats and 23 cats with normal thyroid function. The cats with with hyperthyroidism had elevated levels of flame retardants known as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs).

Although the results don’t prove that the compounds cause the disorder, the study suggests they could be linked.


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