The presence of odorous compounds in your pet's faeces could indicate the presence of cancer-causing substances in your home.
NEW YORK (StudyFinds.org) – Cleaning up pet feces may be a disgusting task, and a new study is offering owners even another reason to hold their breath. Chemicals in dog and cat feces were discovered by researchers at New York University's Grossman School of Medicine, pointing to harmful exposure in their own homes. Furthermore, the study warns that these toxins are most likely derived from compounds that can cause cancer in both humans and dogs.
Aromatic amines are molecules found in everything from tobacco smoke to pigments used in cosmetics, fabrics, and plastics, according to the study's authors. The study of 140 dogs and cats found that tobacco smoke was not the primary source of exposure, implying that pets are exposed to dangerous chemicals from common household items. The researchers discovered eight distinct aromatic amines in pet stool samples in all.
In a press release, study main author Sridhar Chinthakindi, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at NYU Langone Health, said, Our findings show that pets are coming into touch with aromatic amines that leach from goods in their residential environment. Because these compounds have been linked to bladder, colorectal, and other types of cancer in dogs and cats, our findings could help explain why so many of them get these diseases.
What are the sources of these chemicals?
Along with indirect exposure to home chemicals, the researchers discovered that a common flea control medicine called amitraz can break down in a pet's digestive system into an aromatic amine called 2,6-dimethylaniline. This molecule was responsible for roughly 70% of the amines in dogs and 80% in cats.
Previous research has looked at the health dangers of hormone-disrupting chemicals identified in pet urine, but the new study is the first to look at our pets' exposure to aromatic amines in the home, according to the researchers.
The researchers took urine samples from 42 dogs and cats, as well as feces samples from 77 pets, to find out. All of the animals lived in Albany, New York, in private households, animal shelters, or veterinary hospitals.
In comparison to dogs, cats had three times the amount of aromatic amines in their urine. According to studies, dogs and cats have distinct metabolisms, which contributes to the disparity. Cats, in particular, do not break down these chemicals as well as dogs.
Notably, there was no difference in aromatic amine levels between pets in households and pets in animal shelters or hospitals, according to the study. According to the researchers, this demonstrates how prevalent it is for both pets and people to be exposed to these potentially dangerous pollutants.
Because pets are smaller and more susceptible to toxins, they serve as great 'canaries in the coal mine' for assessing chemical dangers to human health, says research senior author Kurunthachalam Kannan, PhD, a professor at NYU Langone's Department of Pediatrics. If they're being exposed to chemicals in our houses, we should be concerned about our own exposure.
Are we putting ourselves at a higher risk of cancer?
It's still unclear how much of these chemicals our pets can endure before they start to impair their health, according to Kannan, a professor at NYU Langone's Center for Investigation of Environmental Hazards.
The link between aromatic amine exposure and the incidence of bladder, thyroid, and testicular cancer in pets is now being investigated.
Previous research has established a correlation between toxins seeping from ubiquitous plastic and electronic consumer devices and poor health in humans. This includes an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.