Monday, March 29, 2010

They got your back but do you have theirs?

I'm talking about pets of course. A 1991 study conducted by the National Research Council determined that illness in pets can be a sign that there is something wrong with their home environment, and their owners are at risk. People knew this about birds so why didn't they think this about their other companions? Duh!

In 2008, the Environmental Working Group tested blood and urine samples from 35 dogs and 37 cats. The results were shocking. Dogs were contaminated by 35 different chemicals, including eleven carcinogens, 31 reproductive toxins, and 24 neurotoxins. Have you heard of perfluorochemicals? These are the toxic chemicals used to make stain and rease repellent finishes and nonstick cookware. Yummy huh? Canine levels of perfluorochemicals were 2.4 higher than those of humans. The mercury levels in cats and dogs were five times higher that us humans.

Not only that but dogs have higher rates of cancer than we do too. Including 35 times more skin cancer, four times more breast tumors, eight times more bone cancer and twice the incidence of leukemia. 20-25 percent of dogs die of cancer. Thats just astonishing.

A study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in 1991 reported that dogs two or more times likely to develop lymphoma of their owners sprayed or sprinkled herbicide 2,2-4 on their lawns four or more times per year. I knew these things were not healthy but I didn't even think about what they would do to our pet. I feel awful about the few times we did put things on our lawn years ago.

Malignant Lymphoma is the canine equivalent of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in humans. Just imagine what all these chemicals are doing to not only your pets but your children. Yeah those children of yours who play all day in the grass, play with bugs, pick their noses, suck their thumbs, and who knows what else. Just think of all the chemicals they are in contact with. Apparently word is not getting around because people each year stock up on these chemicals to keep their lawns pretty, weed free and bug free. Lets stop thinking about how our yard will look and think about our children's health.

Pet owners seem to be more attentive when it comes to these things. More and more pet owners are stopping the use of any chemicals because they know the risk. More and more pet owners pets are getting cancer in their pads of their paws.

Lets not forget the felines here. Feline hypothyroidism is now the leading cause of cat death. But where do they get exposed to chemicals if they are indoor cats? The suspected endorcrine toxins are flame retardants .   Products like mattresses, furniture cushions, carpet padding and electronics. Just about every household has these in their homes. Pervasive PBDE's (Polybrominated diphenyl ethers) mimic thyroid hormones so experts suspect that high exposure to PBDEs can overstimulate cat's thyroids. Luckily they have been banned in the United States as of 2004 but other brominated flame retardants are still in widespread use.

Another thing thats harmful to our pets is polyurethane foam. Its in all our furniture, stuffings, etc. It begins to break down and turn into dust. Petroleum-based foam products become more dangerous as they age.  If you inhale these things its not good at all for you or your pet. You wont even know your inhaling it. Just sit down to watch TV and thats enough to release the dust into the air.

How do we avoid all this? Stop using lawn chemicals of any sort. Choose your furniture wisely.  There are plenty of non-toxic alternatives.  Cotton stuffed futons are the safest inexpensive choice for sleeping on a budget.  Do not use any air freshener sprays because pets are more sensitive to these due to all the synthetic chemicals in them. No plug in's, automatic spray and no gel type either. Again synthetic chemicals are in these and even the plug in's. And don't forget that animals do not know whats good to eat or not. Those gel fragrance's smell yummy to them to just do not buy them to be safe. To freshen up your home open the windows and let fresh air in. Try buying soy candles and burn them up where they pets cannot reach them. One way I keep my pets safe is burning soy candles in a wall mounted candle holder. They cannot reach this making it safer. Another thing to avoid is linen sprays. These are packed with synthetic chemicals as well. Your animals love snuggling up in your bed(even when you do not want them to) or in your blankets.

So back to the point of this post. Your animals got your back, do you have theirs? As Ellen Sandbeck says "If you can't decide whether a lush, green lawn or a healthy pet is more important to you, you need a stuffed animal, not a live pet." I guess the same goes with children too. Buy a doll if you cannot make the right decision.

I found great information for this post in Green barbarians by Ellen Sandbeck. If you want to find more information pick up her book and get to reading.

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