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C2008-33

Dear Christopher Cat

I read your column about chemicals in canned cat food that can cause hyperthyroidism. Are there other chemicals I need to protect my cat from?

Christopher Responds

Yes, we cats inhale and ingest – through eating, drinking and grooming – way too many potentially harmful chemicals.

A recent Environmental Working Group study found that cats’ blood and urine contained 46 environmental chemicals, including plastic additives, heavy metals, flame retardants, stain resisters and chemicals used in food packaging and non-stick pans.

Levels of brominated flame retardants were 23 times higher in cats than humans. Mercury levels, probably from fish in cat food, were five times higher.

Nine of the chemicals cause cancer, 15 damage the endocrine glands, 34 are toxic to the nervous system, and 40 harm the reproductive tract.

Unfortunately, companies don’t have to show that chemicals added to pet foods, toys and bedding are safe.

So you’ll have to protect your cat yourself.

Keep her inside, away from lawn chemicals. Vacuum upholstery and carpets often.

Vary your cat’s diet to minimize mercury exposure from fish-based food.

For more information, visit www.petsfortheenvironment.org. or more on the Environmental Working Group, visit www.ewg.org and click on Pet Health near the bottom of the page.

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