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FRIDAY, May 1, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Flame retardants might be linked to a common health problem in pet cats, a new study from Sweden says.
Researchers found that cats with hyperthyroidism had high levels of certain flame retardants, which suggests a possible link.
More than 10 percent of older cats develop hyperthyroidism, which can cause symptoms such as weight loss, hyperactivity, aggression and vomiting, noted Jessica Norrgran, of Stockholm University, and colleagues.
The findings were recently published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.
Opponents have long sought a ban on some flame retardants because of their potential harmful effects on people, especially infants and young children, according to a journal news release.
Flame retardants are used in products such as plastics and furniture. The chemicals can accumulate in dust that ends up on cat's fur. The cats ingest the chemicals when they lick themselves during grooming, the researchers explained.
The researchers tested blood samples from pet cats in Sweden, including 37 with hyperthyroidism and 23 with normal thyroid function. The cats with hyperthyroidism had elevated levels of flame retardants called polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs).
The findings don't prove that PBDEs cause hyperthyroidism in cats, but suggest an association, according to the study authors.
-- Robert Preidt
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SOURCE: Environmental Science & Technology, news release