A recent study concluded that the sperm quality had fallen quite significantly amongst stud dogs over a 26-year period. The team who conducted the research suggested that environmental contaminants such as bisphenols (BPA) and phthalates which have been often linked to infertility in people might be to blame. The study found that there were traces of these chemicals, which are present in pet food, in the sperm in testes of adult dogs. Is the same happening to cats? Are these chemicals in cat food and which sort of cat food?
Dogs, cats and humans share the same environment. The chemicals referred to are found in a wide range of everyday plastics including clingfilm and shower curtains. These chemicals are linked to diminished libidos in women and lower sperm counts in men.
The study was reported in the journal Scientific Reports. Dr Lea said:
“It’s an indicator that if something’s happening to man’s closest friend then perhaps we should look further at what may be happening to human males as well.”
On the basis of this research reported in the Times newspaper I decided to try and find out whether BPA and phthalates were in cat food. Are these chemicals in the sachets that contain cat food sold in the UK and I presume elsewhere? Are these chemicals in the lining of canned cat food? Here’s the confusion. I spent a good 40 minutes researching and I could not find a clear answer.
The cat owning customer is being deliberately confused I would argue. You’d have thought in the 21st century with a massive internet there’d be clear information on the quality and safety of cat food. But no. BPA was at one time felt to be safe by scientists but my research indicates that there appears to be a general trend towards considering it unsafe although it is work in progress. BPA appears to be in some cat food having leached into it from the lining of cans. I don’t know whether it is in the plastic that is used to make the sachets containing more expensive cat food. It seems quite possible that it is. I find this worrying and of course confusing. In February 2016 the European Union was discussing placing BPA on a list of restricted chemicals which would mean that if it was in a product at a concentration above 0.1% it must be disclosed to a purchaser.
The effects of this chemical on animals is long and rather disturbing. Let’s just say it is a chemical which can have quite dramatic negative health effects.
As for phthalates, in America, the US National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health state that phthalates are not used in plastic food packaging which I presume (wrongly perhaps) also includes pet food packaging. However, this chemical may be elsewhere in the household and therefore it may be gently poisoning every living creature in it. The negative health effects are long and disturbing including endocrine disruption (affecting hormone production) and cancer.
The point I wish to make really in this article which is difficult to write because the whole situation is highly confusing is that I don’t feel that the consumer is being protected adequately by the regulators and I feel that the manufacturers are trying to pull the wool over our eyes with respect to their packaging and the use of toxic chemicals in plastics packaging to make it more convenient to handle by consumers.