Link between brain tumours and fire retardants

Link between brain tumours and fire retardants

They say that you’re either a dog person or a cat person, and I have to confess that I’m definitely fonder of dogs. So when I recently watched an episode of a program called ‘Trust me, I’m a Vet’, a discussion about cats didn’t immediately grab my attention, but within a very few seconds I was totally engrossed.

Diabetes is apparently a growing problem in cats. There has been a five fold increase in the disease in the last twenty years, and by now one in every five cats  has diabetes. Perceived wisdom is that diabetes is often caused by being overweight, but it seems that 25% of cats that have diabetes turn out to have a brain tumour. The tumour is on the pituitary gland and it causes abnormally high levels of a growth hormone.

Veterinary surgeons at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC)  have been doing research on what’s caused this, and the astonishing result is that the tumours  are being caused by toxins in the cats blood. And where did those toxins come from? Fire retardants! Your sofa, your curtains, your mattress and lots of other things around your home have been treated with fire retardants, and pet cats are falling victim to the cocktail of chemicals that are being used.

I have long believed that the widespread use of fire retardants can be likened to a huge experiment. There simply isn’t enough research on its long term effects, and it’s virtually impossible to control our exposure to it.  Pituitary tumours in human beings have increased 300 fold since 2004, and the RVC is extending its research to try and discover why.

We don’t use fire retardant on any on our Abaca mattresses, or on our pet pillows, and that offers consumers a valid lifestyle choice, but the truth is that our sales are a drop in the ocean. Over a 100,000 mattresses are sold every week in the UK, and who knows how many three piece suites!

Exerting control over our home environment is difficult, but not impossible, and well worth the effort if we are not to go down the same road as our feline friends. So if you’re contemplating a new mattress or a new sofa, just spend a couple of minutes thinking about what you’ve just read. Are fire retardants a price we are prepared to pay for our health?  (Just as suitable for cats!)

The link below (if you live in the UK) will take you to the program, the clip that i’m referring to starts 28 minutes in.