Study: Feline Hyperthyroidism May Linked To Carpet and Furniture Chemi

Lori Ennis
by Lori Ennis
New research about the chemicals that are found in carpeting and certain upholsteries suggests that your cat’s thyroid may be in danger.

Dr. Miaomiao Wang is with the California Environmental Protection Agency and was the lead researcher of the study. Dr. Wang said that many carpets and furniture upholsteries have chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in them as they were common in furniture until about the year 2000.

Related: What Is Feline Hyperthyroidism?

In prior studies, it was found that high exposure to PFAS could adversely affect the thyroid function of humans, and now it is believed that it may also be detrimental for the thyroids of cats who are exposed to the PFAS as well.

Dr. Wang said that they’ve been investigating the effects of PFAS for several years and that cats are great to look at for examining how toxins and pollutants can affect humans as well based on how they affect them.

PFAS exposure can occur from the leaching out of objects in the home, as well as ingestion in diets and food-contact, as well as drinking water, dust and hair. Wang says that cats and humans share similarities in the way they react to exposure to residential environmental factors, including dust. Wang also said this is particularly true of toddlers.

That said, cats also have the very common endocrinological disorder of hyperthyroidism–where the thyroid overacts in hormonal productivity due to the enlarged thyroid. Dr. Wang’s team wanted to see if there was any connection with the PFAS.

They looked at the blood levels of PFAS in two different groups of cats who lived in the San Francisco, CA area. One group included 21 cats who were sampled between 2008 and 2010 and the other group of 22 was sampled between 2012 and 2013. Most all the cats were at least ten-years-old.

They found that the higher the levels of PFAS in the feline’s blood, the higher the odds of an overactive thyroid in the cat were. As well, the blood levels of a specific subcategory of PFAS was significantly higher in cats who were hyperthyroid.

Related: FDA Alert: Pet Foods and Treats May Contain Hormones That Trigger Hyperthyroidism

The team found that the sample period difference showed a PFAS decline, and they believe that was due to the common decline in PFAS blood levels in humans as the chemical’s usage continues to be phased out.

Dr. Wang recognizes the small size of the study and believes a larger-scale study may continue to offer information about how to keep our cats (and selves) safe from the effects of PFAS. Additionally, Wang suggests regular monitoring of thyroid activity for cats (and humans), particularly in cats who are ten years or older.

Lori Ennis
Lori Ennis

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