A recent Swedish study found high levels of flame retardant chemicals in blood samples taken from household cats. The brominated chemicals are used to increase flame resistance in carpets, electronics, and furniture. As the chemicals break down, they become airborne particles that mix with house dust. Many of these flame retardants have been banned over the years, but the chemicals persist in the products and leach from them for decades.

These chemicals are known endocrine disruptors, which can cause endocrine (glandular) diseases later in life. In cats, this is commonly found as thyroid disease. In dogs, Cushing’s disease and thyroid disease have become common endocrine problems. In the study, cats with hyperthyroidism were found to have higher levels of the brominated flame retardants in their blood than cats that did not have the disease.

Perhaps this should stimulate me to dust my house more often, which is a chore I despise. Luckily, we don’t have carpets, but who knows how many other products in our home are made with these materials? Unfortunately, we live in a chemical world and it’s almost impossible to escape from them.