Feline Health

Project status: not currently active

Since the 1970s, there has been a huge increase in the incidence of hyperthyroid disease in pet cats, which is possibly connected to their exposure to halogenated chemicals. This project brings together veterinarians, epidemiologists, and toxicologists to study feline exposure to halogenated chemicals and potential health impacts.

Midnight Memorial Feline Health Project

From Executive Director Arlene Blum: “When my beloved black cat ‘Midnight’ died of hyperthyroid disease last October, her body had some of the highest levels ever measured of a toxic halogenated flame retardant called PBDE. To try to find out if this chemical was related to her death, I got in touch with scientists who were studying this question.

Speaking to the scientists, I found that each had a piece of the puzzle. If we could put those pieces together we could solve the mystery of the new epidemic of cat hyperthyroid disease rapidly. In addition to saving cats and their owners from huge pain and sadness, this would help protect the health of other animals and humans who are exposed to these same chemicals.

After cats, other highly exposed groups are nursing babies and toddlers because these chemicals go through the placenta, they are found in breast milk, and in house dust.”

See also:
Donna Mensching: The ABCs and PBDEs of Feline Hyperthyroidism: Current Findings on a Modern Epidemic
Arlene Blum: Midnight’s Legacy (LA Times)