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Link between dust and HyperT in cats?

August 16th, 2007, 04:37 PM
Study: Dust with retardant may harm cats (

By SETH BORENSTEIN, AP Science Writer 24 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - A new federal study suggests that household dust containing a common flame retardant may be linked to an increase in cats getting sick from overactive thyroids.

The small study looks at chemical flame retardants called polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), which were used in foam, plastics, furniture, electronics, fabrics and carpet padding. The sole American manufacturer in 2004 agreed to phase out the types of PBDEs included in the study because of concern about toxicity in animals.

The study of 23 cats found the older felines with high levels of certain types of PBDEs tended to have overactive thyroids, the researchers reported online Wednesday in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Science and Technology.

The EPA study adds to recent research that raises serious questions about human exposure to PBDE. One study found a significant relationship between indoor dust exposure and PBDE levels in first-time mothers in the Boston area. Another found PBDE levels in Americans are three to 10 times higher than in Europeans. And small studies in California and Norway show that children, especially toddlers, have higher PBDE levels than adults.

"I don‘t think we know about (human) health yet, but I don‘t like the sound of this," said Webster, who co-authored the Boston dust study but was not part of the EPA research, which he praised. "Levels in people are going up."

Most people don‘t have PBDE levels that are anywhere near that of cats, Birnbaum said. PBDE is just one of many chemicals that accumulate in our body with unknown effects, but the dust exposure route is unusual, Birnbaum said.

She said if PBDEs get into bodies through household dust, that means children are likely to be more exposed than their parents.


The EPA study:

State of Washington‘s advice on avoiding exposure to PBDEs: