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I found this article on my AOL home page today. I thought it was interesting. Oh, and the picture of the dog in the article? A Beagle!


High Chemical Levels Found in Dogs, Cats
By Elizabeth Weise,USA Today
Posted: 2008-04-17 12:22:44
Filed Under: Nation News, Science News
(April 17) - An environmental group has tested dogs and cats for chemical exposure and found some levels much higher than in humans.

The analysis, being released today by the Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Working Group today, found levels of brominated flame retardants (used in furniture, fabrics and electronics) in cats 23 times higher than in humans, and mercury levels (likely from fish in pet foods) five times higher. In dogs, levels of perfluorinated chemicals (from stain- and grease-proof coatings) were 2.4 times higher than in people. Overall, 35 chemicals in dogs and 46 in cats were found.

A study found that levels of chemicals from stain- and grease-proof coatings were 2.4 times higher in dogs than in people. Pets may have higher concentrations of chemicals in their bodies because they have more contact with the ground, where pesticides, dust and chemicals concentrate, a scientist said.

The research used blood and urine samples from 35 dogs and 37 cats collected at Hanover Animal Hospital in Mechanicsville, Va., in December and January. Results represent average levels. Samples had to be pooled because "lab methods require a larger sample than any single animal could provide," says EWG's Jane Houlihan.

The testing "raises tantalizing questions," says Larry Glickman, a professor of environmental health at Purdue University's School of Veterinary Medicine in West Lafayette, Ind. "These things are just too controversial to ignore."

Glickman says that "we'll need to figure out how widespread this contamination is, where's it coming from and whether it's associated with adverse health events."

"Because cats are finicky, owners find a food they like and stick to it," which could explain the high levels of mercury in cats, says Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition at New York University who's researching a book on pet food. The same could apply to dogs, especially because they're often fed organ meat. "If they're eating only one thing, and there are toxins in it, then it would be concentrated."

Pets' high levels of exposure come about because they spend their days in direct contact with floors and the ground, where dust, dirt, chemicals and pesticides concentrate. They also chew on toys, "so they have exposures to plastics," Houlihan says.

The findings give cause for concern, Houlihan says, because "there's a 20-year body of scientific literature showing that pets can be sentinels for human problems."
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