When you’re wondering what to get as holiday gifts for the pets in your life, just getting rid of some things may be the best present of all. A study by EWG shows that many of the toxic chemicals in the blood streams of dogs and cats come from teflon chemicals, fire retardants, mercury and other carcinogens at higher levels than humans:
In a novel study representing the broadest biomonitoring investigation yet conducted in pets, what we found was surprising.
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 plastics and food packaging chemicals, heavy metals, fire retardants, and stain-proofing chemicals in pooled samples of blood and urine from 20 dogs and 37 cats collected at a Virginia veterinary clinic.
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 (Figure).
Contributors: chew toys, pesticides they lick off their paws, flame retardants, food processing and packaging chemicals, asbestos fibers, and topical flea and tick pesticides.
So as a holiday gift for the little ones you love, think about detoxifying your house:
• Serve organic: Choose organic or free-range pet foods. Check labels to avoid the chemical preservatives butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), and ethoxyquin, and switch your cat’s food regularly to limit the exposure to mercury in seafood.
• Clean drink: Give your pet the same filtered water that you enjoy.
• Throw out Fido’s bed: Crumbling foam that contains flame retardants can adversely affect pets. Replace their old bedding and make sure your furniture doesn’t pose a hazard.
• Vacuum often: Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter, and take off your shoes at the door to minimize your pets’ exposure to toxic chemicals in the house that have been introduced from the outside.
• Poison on the deck: If you suspect that your backyard deck was made with arsenic-treated wood, treat it with a sealant every six months, and don’t let pets play or sleep underneath it. Wash it with mild soap and water, but never power wash it.
• Skip the stain repellant: Pass on the optional stainproof treatments on couches, carpets, and car upholstery—they’re loaded with toxic chemicals.
• Switch to cast iron: An overheated nonstick pan can kill pet birds, and it gives off chemicals that may be bad for other pets and people, too.
• Green lawns: Care for your lawn without using insecticides, which may cause nervous system damage in pets that walk on the treated lawn, eat the grass, or breathe in the chemicals.
• Lose the litter: Use kitty litter made of plant sources such as wheat or recycled newspaper. Clay-based kitty litter is strip mined, causing extreme environmental damage during extraction.
• Ask the vet: Flea collars are generally ineffective and contain lots of chemicals. Ask your vet about safer treatments and repellents.
• Safe suds: Use baby shampoo on your dog. Pet products are not required to list potentially harmful ingredients on labels.
Any other suggestions? Leave them in the comments….