Pets may be exposed to toxic chemicals in their homes

Pets may be exposed to toxic chemicals in their homes ...

According to a new study, dogs and cats may be exposed to a potentially hazardous mixture of chemicals in their homes, indicating that their discovery in pets stool and urine is a sign of health problems for humans living with them.

The chemicals found in tobacco smoke and in dyes used in cosmetics, textiles, and plastics are known to cause cancer. Notably, the study revealed that tobacco smoke was not a significant source of pet exposure, suggesting that latter items were likely to be the primary culprits.

The study, led by researchers at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine, discovered eight types of aromatic amines in stool samples from dozens of dogs and cats, but also found traces of the chemicals in more than 38 percent of urine samples obtained from a separate group of pets.

Animals are reportedly in contact with aromatic amines that drain from their household equipment, according to Sridhar Chinthakindi, a PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at NYU Langone Health. These substances have been linked to bladder, colorectal, and other forms of cancer, but our findings may explain why so many dogs and cats develop such illnesses.

Pets are most likely to be direct exposed, according to his conclusions. For example, past research has shown that a common flea control medication called Amitraz can be divided into an aromatic amine called 2,6-dimethylaniline by microbes living in animals digestive systems. This was the most common aromatic amine found in the previous study, accounting for about 70% of dogs and nearly 80 percent of cats.

According to Dr. Chinthakindi, previous research has measured other hormone-disrupting substances, such as phthalates, melamine, and bisphenols in pet urine. However, the new study, published online March 30, has not been designed to address pet exposure to aromatic amines in the house.

The study team investigated urine samples from 42 dogs and 21 cats living in private homes, veterinary hospitals, and animal shelters in Albany, New York. They also collected fecal samples from another 77 pets living in the same area. They then examined the samples for evidence of 30 different kinds of aromatic amines and nicotine.

Cats had at least triple the concentrations of aromatic amines in their urine as dogs, according to the researchers. Despite their higher exposure and increased metabolism, the two species may play a role in the concentrations of chemicals found. Nonetheless, cats do not break down many compounds as efficiently as dogs.

A study of aromatic amine exposure revealed little difference between animals that lived at home and those that lived in a shelter or those that were staying at a veterinary hospital. Dr. Chinthakindi claims this is how commonly these substances appear and how dangerous they are to avoid.

Pets are smaller and more sensitive to toxins, and they serve as excellent canaries in the coal mine for assessing chemical hazards to human health, according to a research senior author Kurunthachalam Kannan, PhD, a researcher at NYU Langone. If they are becoming exposed to toxins in our homes, then we should take a look at our own exposure.

Dr. Kannan, a member of the NYU Langones Center for the Investigation of Environmental Hazards, warns that it remains unclear what aromatic amine levels can be safely tolerated by pets, and that there has been no limitation for their protection so far.

He adds that the study authors intend to investigate the link between aromatic amine exposure and bladder, thyroid, and testicular cancer in pets.

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