Sunday 11 April 2021

Phthalates in vinyl flooring a danger to domestic cats?

This is a cross post. If you would like to read the original article please click here. I am constantly made aware of the potential chemical hazards in a typical home. These are invisible and as such they are insidious and they can take effect over a long period of time. I am also acutely aware that some diseases in domestic cats are idiopathic, which means that the veterinarians do not know what causes them. And it is these two thoughts which may come together. Is it chemicals in vinyl flooring, sofas, and carpets that are harming domestic cats sometimes in some places and to a certain extent?

Picture: Pixabay.

In this instance my research indicates that phthalates are incorporated into vinyl flooring i.e. the type of flooring which looks like wood, to make it more pliable. Through wear and tear and perhaps just during normal use, or even without use, science has determined that phthalates migrate from viny into the atmosphere in the home.

We know that domestic cats spend a lot of time on the floor and on sofas and carpets. We often see domestic cats lying on kitchen floors or walking on them. It is not be beyond the bounds of possibility that domestic cats are being slightly poisoned by phthalates in those homes where there is vinyl flooring.

This chemical is not put into water bottles and food containers. I believe the reason for this is that the manufacturers know it is unsuitable for those products. However, scientific studies tell us that phthalates migrate from flooring to the atmosphere and therefore there is a real danger there. Phthalates are described as endocrine disruptors. In other words they disrupt the production of hormones.

Further, in the past few years research has indicated that there is a link between phthalates and asthma in humans and in addition to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, breast cancer, obesity and type type II diabetes and low IQ and neurodevelopmental issues. You can go on to male fertility issues and autism spectrum disorders. There is a long long list and we know that doctors are still scratching their heads about some of these disorders so I would like to point the finger at phthalates as a possibility.

If these chemicals affect people in this way then surely it is reasonable to presume that they present a danger to domestic cats as well. And we know that hardwood flooring or fake hardwood flooring is very popular at the moment. I wonder if this trend to this type of flooring has inadvertently led to cat illnesses which veterinarians are finding hard to diagnose. I don't have the statistics but it is worth at least flagging up this potential.

I wrote about chemicals in carpets and fire retardants in furniture some years ago. The links take you to pages on those topics.

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