Chemicals discovered in cat study 'show children also face risk'

Chemicals discovered in cat study 'show children also face risk'

Furniture chemicals found in the blood of cats may pose a health risk to children, researchers claim.

A Swedish team confirmed that cats are being exposed to brominated flame retardants as a result of inhaling household dust.

The chemicals are added to textiles, furniture and electronic equipment to prevent fires.

Some are suspected of posing a cancer risk, damaging nerves, or acting as endocrine disrupters that disturb hormonal balance.

Although a number of the flame retardants are banned or restricted in Europe, they continue to leach into the environment over periods of many years.

The scientists tested blood samples from cats and dust from children's and adult's bedrooms and living rooms.

Matching traces of brominated flame retardants were found both in the blood of the cats and household dust. The chemicals included ones currently in use and others that have been banned for decades.

Lead researcher Dr Jana Weiss, from Stockholm University, said: "By taking paired samples, we have greater insight into the environment that the cats live in.

"Moreover the cats in the study spent the majority of their time indoors and therefore air and dust in the home is expected to contribute more than the outdoor environment."

Flame retardant chemicals were also discovered in cat food at the 17 homes investigated.

The researchers wrote: "This is the first time a correlation between cat serum levels and household dust has been established, a finding that supports the hypothesis that dust is a significant exposure route for cats."

Children were likely to experience similar levels of exposure as the cats, said the scientists whose findings are reported in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Dr Weiss added: "The brominated flame retardants that have been measured in cats are known endocrine disruptors.

"It's particularly serious when small children ingest these substances because exposure during the development can have consequences later in life, such as thyroid disease."

More in this Section

1,500 ventilators a week to roll off UK production lines by May, say manufacturers1,500 ventilators a week to roll off UK production lines by May, say manufacturers

Effectiveness of school closures in historic pandemics put under the microscopeEffectiveness of school closures in historic pandemics put under the microscope

Scientists developing coronavirus vaccine delivered via fingertip-sized patchScientists developing coronavirus vaccine delivered via fingertip-sized patch

Spain’s coronavirus death toll hits 10,000 as global infections near a millionSpain’s coronavirus death toll hits 10,000 as global infections near a million


Lifestyle

Much has been said about the perils of being stuck in the house 24/7, like family pets interrupting your important conference calls, your partner leaving their dirty dishes everywhere and the lack of respite from the kids.Silver lining: Seven enforced money-saving habits you might want to continue after lockdown

Put you and your loved ones' pop-culture knowledge to the test with Arts Editor Des O'Driscoll's three fiendishly fun quiz rounds.Scene and Heard: the Arts Ed's family entertainment quiz

A passion for heritage and the discovery of some nifty new software has resulted in an Irish architect putting colour on thousands of old photographs, writes Marjorie BrennanBringing the past to life

Richard Hogan, family psychotherapist, addresses a reader's question about life during lockdownHolding on: how to help your child through the crisis

More From The Irish Examiner