Dog owners take note: there is one ingredient you want to look for and avoid at all costs when purchasing toys in the future.
Thanks to the results of a recent study that was presented at the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, we now have a much clearer understanding of which toys are the most toxic to pets and which can be considered safe.
The study was co-authored by Philip Smith, an associate professor at Texas Tech University who also raises and trains Labrador Retrievers. Smith and his colleague, Kimberly Wooten, suspected that certain types of toys, including "bumpers" or fetching batons that are used to teach dogs to retrieve, might contain toxins that could leak into the mouths and bodies of dogs.
In a press release Smith explained that: "In the process of training a lab, you do a lot of work with these plastic bumpers. I have a lot of bumpers in my garage, and they spend a lot of time in the mouths of my retrievers. Well, lots of attention has been given to chemicals in plastics lately regarding their effects on humans. Since we all care about our dogs, and we want them to be as healthy and smart and well-behaved as possible, we decided to look into this."
Chemicals called phthalates as well as bisphenol A (BPA) are used in plastics manufacturing to provide elasticity to products. These substances are known endocrine disruptors that mimic estrogen or act as anti-androgens.
Smith and his colleagues then conducted another study which later proved that older toys leached out more chemicals. The study involved creating "faux" dog saliva and also simulated chewing action. The chewing was accomplished by squeezing the toys with salad tongs. Some of the toys were also left outside in the elements to see if older toys leached more chemicals. "We found that aging or weathering the toys increased concentrations of BPA and phthalates," Smith said.
According to Wooten, BPA and phthalates can impact a developing fetus and have lifelong effects on the offspring of lab animals. And the U.S. government banned the use of BPA in baby bottles. "The interaction of pet health and environmental chemicals is understudied," Wooten said. "What may be a safe dose for one species isn't always a good measure for another species. But the amount of BPA and phthalates we found from the bumpers would be considered on the high end of what you might find in children's toys."
We know that these chemicals have been proven dangerous to humans. The study referenced here shows clearly that they are dangerous to pets as well. The only question now is what we need to do as a society to eliminate them entirely.
In the meantime, look for toys labeled "BPA Free" or made in the U.S. from 100 percent natural rubber. These manufacturers produce BPA free toys:
West Paw Design
Source: Huffington Post