1. Caveat emptor–let the buyer beware–while it may seem like a scare tactic, it is a reasonable approach for consumers to take when buying toys, treats, beds, and food for pets in a global marketplace.
Sarah Pinneo points out in a recent Huffington Post article, “Here’s [a] fact that startles consumers: all recalls are voluntary. That’s because the FDA does not actually have the power to force a recall. It has the power to inspect, and to shut down, but not to recall products. Yet many of the press releases on the FDA website say “the recall was voluntary,” leading some readers to potentially assume that the problem is not serious.”
Health Tips: DIY. Don’t rely on the store to investigate product safety, do it yourself. There are no laws requiring companies to test any chemicals before using them in pet products. Keep in mind that big box stores sell on the basis of price, they want to make the sale. It’s up to you to read and understand the ingredients.
Skip Big Box Stores. When possible, buy your pet products from small businesses with a long, track record of meeting high safety and quality standards. Find a family run business with a quality fanatic like Dr. Jane Bicks, someone who is passionate about setting and monitoromg systems and procedures to protect pets. If you don’t know where to find small businesses, look online, ask us, or ask friends who are into health and fitness.
- Chemicals in pet foods. Potential sources of exposure: BPA in canned pet food; by-products; preservatives BHA, BHT, and ethoxyquin, mercury in seafood.
Health Tip: Use fresh food free of chemical preservatives, it will probably be more nutritious as well.
- Plastics (may cause reproductive issues and cancer). Potential sources of exposure: veterinary medicines, plastic containers and toys, shampoos, and a huge range of other consumer products containing phthalates (softeners).
Health Tip: Avoid plastic chew toys and food storage containers.
- Flame Retardants (disrupt the thyroid and brain development in young animals). Potential sources of exposure: foam furniture and bedding manufactured before 2005, contaminated air and house dust, and food contaminated with PBDEs that pollute the environment, especially seafood.
Health Tips: Replace furniture with exposed or disintegrating foam. Cover bedding where flame retardants are found. Replace all pet bedding more than five years old with natural bedding fibers.
- Teflon. Potential sources of exposure: food contaminated with PFCs leaching from dog food bag coatings, as well as house dust, and stain-proofed furniture, dog beds, and carpets.
Health Tips: Avoid nonstick pans. Overheating nonstick pans can kill pet birds and gives off chemicals that maybe bad for pets and people. Don’t get optional stain-proof treatments on bedding, furniture, carpet, and car upholstery–it is loaded with toxic perflourochemicals.
- Pesticides and Arsenic. Potential sources of exposure: parks, lawns, common areas in housing developments with grass, decking, or mulch.
Health Tips: Don’t let pets play, sleep, breathe, or even walk on lawns or grass treated with insecticides. It may cause nervous system damage. The same goes for arsenic-treated wood on decks. Seal the deck every six months and don’t let pets sleep underneath it.
3. Encourage law makers to modernize 30+ year-old public health laws. Learn about and support nonprofit organizations like Pets For The Environment.
4. Remove contaminates from water. Use filtered water for pets–either reverse osmosis or pitcher filter.
–Dana G. Mayer Copyright 2012.
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