I’m back on my high horse about carpet chemicals. I believe that they are very important and overlooked. However, fortunately, a recent research study published in Scientific Reports has found that environmental chemicals in our homes, one of which is DEHP, damages the DNA in sperm and limits its swimming ability.
The other chemical studied was PCB 153. DEHP is a phthalate, one of several toxic chemicals found in major European Union retailer carpets. It was banned by the European Union in 2015 but an exemption for its use was made for carpets. DEHP is also found other items such as clothes.
My research indicates that DEHP is also widely used in the United States of America. It is used in very many household items (ref: United States Plastics Corp).
DEHP is what is called a plasticiser in the manufacture of PVC articles. I’m going to guess and say that in carpets its use is found in the base on which carpets are woven. The base is probably made of plastic nowadays and DEHP is used in that plastic. And/or the carpet fibres themselves are plastic and contain DEHP. I’m prepared to be corrected if that’s wrong.
PCB 153 is banned but persists in the environment. It was widely used as e.g. coolant fluid in electrical apparatus.
I’m more concerned about the dangers of carpets in this article. The fact that DEHP can damage such a fundamental part of a human’s anatomy surely must raise a flag of warning to pet owners including cat guardians. I should say, incidentally, that the research which I am referring to concerned dogs. It found that DEHP damaged the DNA of dogs’ sperm. Dog sperm counts are in decline as are those of humans.
All the more reason to be thoughtful as to whether DEHP damages, in some fundamental way, the anatomy of domestic cats who are more often nearer this toxic chemical than humans because they lie on carpets and walk on them.
Alan Pacey, professor of andrology at the Universe of Sheffield said that we should be careful with these results because lab tests are not always replicated in real life. However, Rebecca Sumner who was part of the research team said that it was worth investigating the similarities between effects on dog and human sperm and hopes that such research could lead to ways to protect sperm in dogs and humans. I have to add that there is a need to do more work on protecting the general health of companion animals in the home as well.
Humans are blind to the existence of chemicals in the home both in products and in the air as the products give off toxic, odourless fumes.
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