Chemical exposures: cats as sentinel species.
Environ Health Perspect. 2007 Dec;115(12):A580. PMID: 18087575
Pet cats may be like canaries in coal mines when it comes to evaluating the health impacts of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), persistent chemicals used in carpet pads, furniture, and electronics. Chronic PBDE exposure may partly explain an epidemic of hyperthyroid disease in older cats, says Janice Dye, a U.S. EPA research biologist. In turn, studying the effects of chronic PBDE exposure in cats could offer clues as to the effects in their human counterparts. Veterinarians first noticed a dramatic surge in feline hyperthyroidism (FH) in the 1980s, coinciding with the use of PBDEs as flame retardants in consumer products. FH, the most common endocrine disorder in cats, causes rapid weight loss due to increased concentrations of thyroxine. Histologic changes in FH mirror those seen in older humans experiencing toxic nodular goiter (TNG), in which an enlarged thyroid gland overproduces thyroxine. The causes of FH and TNG remain unknown. View The Entire Free Article Here.