Environmental report: Dogs exposed to high levels of flame retardants

A new study says that the levels of chemical flame retardants in the blood of dogs are five to 10 times higher than in humans.
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Oct 18, 2011
By dvm360.com staff

Did you know the chemicals in the environment are harming your veterinary patients? The levels of chemical flame retardants in the blood of dogs are five to 10 times higher than in humans, according to a study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

In the study, Indiana University scientists checked the levels of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in the blood of 17 dogs that mainly lived indoors. The average blood concentration of the chemicals in the dogs was about two nanograms per gram. Researchers who conducted the study also found that PBDE levels in dog food average about one nanogram per gram, which is much higher than levels found in meat and poultry sold for human consumption. The study suggests that PBDEs in dog food may come from processing rather than from the food sources.

PBDEs are flame retardants found in a wide range of consumer products, including furniture and electronics. The chemicals can migrate out of the products and enter the environment, according to the study. One particularly hazardous type of retardant was voluntarily removed from the U.S. market in 2004, but researchers say it still lingers in the environment. They’re studying the compounds’ toxicological effects on people and animals.

Researchers are also exploring whether pets could serve as biosentinels for monitoring human exposure to chemicals in the home. Click here to read more about household items that are toxic to pets.