Categories: hyperthyroidism

Link found between modern flame retardant and feline hyperthyroidism

A link has been found between a modern flame retardant and cats who suffer from hyperthyroidism. This must be concerning to cat guardians. Back in the 1970s manufacturers began to use flame retardants in polyurethane foam in furniture (and other items). These flame retardants are called PBDEs.

Where flame retardants are found

In 2004, US manufacturers started to voluntarily phase out this type of flame retardant because there were concerns that they damage the environment and the health of people and their companion animals. They used alternatives including TDCIPPs [tris(1,3-dichloroisopropyl) phosphate]. Until recently these new flame retardants had not been tested as to whether they are “endocrine disruptors”.

Endocrine disruptors are chemicals which affect the endocrine system. The endocrine system in humans and cats is a collection of glands that produce hormones that regulate metabolism, growth and development, tissue function et cetera.

On 10th July, it has been reported that this alternative flame retardant is linked to hyperthyroidism in cats (phys.org website). Scientists were able to make the link by placing silicon tags on the cats. These are the sort of tags that hospital patients wear. Silicon picks up volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds.

The researchers recruited owners of 78 housecats of seven years of age and older. Half of them had hyperthyroidism and half did not. After seven days the researchers analysed the silicon tags and found that there were higher levels of TDCIPP in the tags with cats who had hyperthyroidism.

It also appears, on my understanding, that higher TDCIPP exposures are associated with air freshener use, houses built since 2005 and cats that nap on unholstered furniture.

Comment: Don’t use air fresheners. They smell good but you are putting an unknown chemical into your home in high concentration. There are already enough chemicals in your home one way or another. Consider replacing furniture with furniture which is explicitely stated as not containing flame retardants. Cat owners need to be more aware of chemicals in the home. Keep it as free of chemicals as is possible. Ask questons when buying household items about chemicals used in the product such as carpets and furniture.

READ ABOUT FELINE HYPERTHYRODISM BY CLICKING ON THIS LINK. THANKS. IT IS A DISEASE THAT COMMONLY AFFECTS OLDER CATS. IS THIS BECAUSE THEY HAVE ACCUMULATED THIS CHEMCIAL IN THEIR BODIES OVER TIME?

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in a many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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