Felines and Brominated Flame Retardants: An Unhappy Pairing

By Staff Reports

(DGIwire) – What could be safer than the life of an indoor cat? Unfortunately, it might not be as safe as its owners might hope. A recent study by Stockholm researchers, published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, found that indoor felines have high levels of brominated flame retardants in their bloodstream.

This finding is important, notes Consumer Affairs, not only for what it says about the health of indoor cats but also for the health of other creatures who spend a lot of time exploring their homes and putting things in their mouths: very young human children.

According to the Stockholm researchers, the brominated flame retardants that have been measured in cats are known endocrine disruptors. It is particularly serious when small children ingest these substances because exposure during development can have consequences later in life, such as thyroid disease. Their study found evidence that household cats were exposed to chemicals found in furniture and electronics.

“Brominated flame retardants are added to textiles, furniture and electronic equipment to prevent the material for igniting but they are seen as health hazards,” says Dirk van Hyning, CEO of Alexium International, a specialty chemicals manufacturer. “However, a new generation of chemicals is being developed to provide an alternate solution.”

Alexium develops next-generation flame retardants that balance fire protection with ecological safety. Its processes and products are intentionally designed to meet exacting requirements for safety and environmental sustainability. For example, one of its products, Alexiflam NF, is a reactive, halogen-free, phosphorus-based product that can stand up to 50+ washes and is specifically designed for cotton and cotton blends often found in products such as apparel and upholstery.

By having multiple platforms of ecofriendly polymeric flame retardant materials, Alexium can tailor a chemical formulation to meet almost any set of performance criteria and deliver a ready-to-use product to a customer’s door.

“No homeowner should ever have to worry that they or their families—or their pets—are exposed to harmful chemicals used in the production of their furniture,” van Hyning adds. “Addressing this issue is a main motivation of our work.”

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