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Flame Retardants Found in Cats—and Kids?

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— July 24, 2017

Flame Retardants Found in Cats—and Kids?

  • High levels of flame retardants have been found in the blood of house cats, raising fears that such chemicals could also affect young children.
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High levels of flame retardants have been found in the blood of house cats, raising fears that such chemicals could also affect young children.

Researchers led by Sweden’s Stockholm University took dust samples from 17 homes in the Stockholm/Uppsala area and blood samples from the resident cats, most of whom spent more than half of their time indoors. The samples were then tested for the presence of brominated flame retardants (BFRs), which have been used extensively to prevent fires in building materials, furniture, and electronic equipment. According to results published in Environmental Science & Technology, “significant correlations were found” between BFR levels in the blood and dust samples, “a finding that supports the hypothesis that dust is a significant exposure route for cats.”

Previous research had found higher BFR levels in cats suffering from overly active thyroid glands. What’s more, BFR contamination can threaten youngsters as well. “It’s particularly serious when small children” ingest BFRs, said lead study author Jana Weiss, Ph.D., noting that “exposure during development could have consequences later in life, such as thyroid disease.”

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