Concern about chemicals in our environment—especially those inside our homes—is growing. From water bottles, baby bottles, and Teflon pans to cleaning chemicals, products that many of us rely on may be making us sick. This may be even more true for our beloved animals. Unfortunately, the US does not regulate the chemicals that pets are exposed to, including those used in manufacturing chew toys and pet accessories.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a nonprofit research and advocacy organization. Founded in 1993, EWG works to protect human health and natural resources. EWG's groundbreaking investigations into human body's toxic burden led to the creation of Pets for the Environment.
In a study released April 17, 2008, EWG reveals that pets are indeed carrying a toxic burden—one that is even higher than their human owners.
"In the first study of its kind, Environmental Working Group found that companion cats and dogs are polluted with even higher levels of many of the same synthetic industrial chemicals that researchers have recently found in people, including newborns.
"Dogs and cats were contaminated with 48 of 70 industrial chemicals tested, including 43 chemicals at levels higher than those typically found in people, according to our study of blood and urine from 20 dogs and 40 cats. Average levels of many chemicals were substantially higher in pets than is typical for people, with 2.4 times higher levels of stain-and grease-proof coatings (perfluorochemicals) in dogs, 23 times more fire retardants (PBDEs) in cats, and more than 5 times the amounts of mercury, compared to average levels in people found in national studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and EWG.
"Just as children ingest pollutants in tap water, play on lawns with pesticide residues, or breathe in an array of indoor air contaminants, so do their pets. But with there compressed lifespans, developing and aging seven or more times faster than children, pets also develop health problems much more rapidly. Pets, like infants and toddlers, have limited diets and play close to the floor, often licking the ground as well as their paws, greatly increasing both their exposures to chemicals and the resulting health risks."