“The Mystery of the Wasting House-Cats”

Quoted from The New York Times Magazine - https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/16/magazine/the-mystery-of-the-wasting-house-cats.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0

“The Mystery of the Wasting House-Cats”

“Forty years ago, feline hyperthyroidism was virtually nonexistent. Now it’s an epidemic — and some scientists think a class of everyday chemicals might be to blame.

… The previous day, all five animals received carefully titrated doses of radioactive iodine, designed to destroy the overactive cells that had proliferated in their thyroid glands and flooded their bodies with hormones. These cats are among the millions suffering from hyperthyroidism, one of the most mysterious diseases in veterinary medicine. When Peterson entered veterinary school in 1972, feline hyperthyroidism seemingly didn’t exist; today, he treats nothing else. In the intervening decades, hyperthyroidism somehow became an epidemic in cats, and no one knows why. “I’ve devoted most of my time in the last 35 years to this,” said Peterson, who noted that he has treated more than 10,000 hyperthyroid cats, “and I still have more questions than I have answers.”

Although definitive answers remain elusive, scientists are narrowing in on one possible explanation: A steady drumbeat of research links the strange feline disease to a common class of flame retardants that have blanketed the insides of our homes for decades. But even as the findings may answer one epidemiological question, they raise another in its place. If household chemicals are wreaking havoc on the hormones of cats, what are they doing to us?

Could hyperthyroid cats be modern-day canaries? We know that flame retardants accumulate in our own bodies; scientists find PBDEs in nearly every person they test, including newborns. “It’s almost 100 percent detection,” says Heather Stapleton, an environmental chemist and exposure scientist at Duke University. The compounds turn up in human blood, breast milk and tissue and can persist for years in fat.”

Read the full article here – https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/16/magazine/the-mystery-of-the-wasting-house-cats.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0