A recent Environmental Working Group (EWG) study revealed high levels of industrial chemicals in dogs and cats. This post covers one of these, Perfluorinated Compounds known simply as PFCs.
PFCs all have carbon "back bones" surrounded by fluorine atoms. The fluorine-carbon bond is very very strong. These tightly bonded chains make stuff shiny and stain resistant. Gortex, Stainguard, and Teflon are all trademarked and patented forms of PFCs.
PFCs can be useful. Unfortunately the same quality that makes them useful creates serious problems. Their tough and hard to break carbon-fluorine bond also means they persist in nature and our bodies for years and years. Major studies have found PFCs in 90% of us.
But still, what is the big deal?
PFCs were just invented in the 1950’s, yet they are building up in the natural world at an alarming rate because they do NOT break down. Studies show they have negative effects on us and our world, but—this is important—we still do not completely understand how and why these negative effects are occurring while they continue to build up. I find this scary.
Why PFCs are a big deal:
- They are carcinogenic
- They persist in our bodies for many years and in our pets who live shorter lives. What does this mean for our health and the health of our pets?
- Linked to behavioral disorders
- May decrease fertility and cause problems with reproductive organs
- Can impair hormone production
- Associated with respiratory problems
- Grease resistant food packaging --pet food bags, microwave popcorn bags, pizza boxes—you get the idea.
- Non stick cookware and foods cooked in them
- Stain proofed furniture, carpets, and pet beds
- House dust—because PFCs are super stable and long lasting, they eventually end up everywhere—even in the dust on your floor.
- Personal-care products like shampoo, dental floss (gasp!), and denture cleaners
What you can do to protect your pets:
- Avoid shiny grease resistant pet food and snack packaging
- Don’t choose stain/water resistant bedding, coats, or toys
- Avoid pet care products made with Teflon or containing ingredients that include the words "fluoro" or "perfluoro"
- Unless you can guarantee your skin care lotions, or perfumes don’t contain PFCs (and many do), wash your hands before you touch your pets
- Avoid non stick cookware, utensils, or pet food bowls
- Use wax coated paper as an alternative to PFC embedded products
If you would like to learn more:
http://www.toxiccharacters.org/?page_id=8 Great collection of articles