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Potential Role of Pet Cats As a Sentinel Species for Human Exposure to Flame Retardants

By Luis A. Henríquez-Hernández, Elena Carretón, María Camacho, José Alberto Montoya-Alonso, Luis D. Boada, Verónica Bernal Martín, Yaiza Falcón Cordón, Soraya Falcón Cordón, Manuel Zumbado, Octavio P. Luzardo

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Flame retardants are a wide group of chemicals used by the industry to avoid combustion of materials. These substances are commonly found in plastics, electronic equipment, fabrics, and in many other everyday articles. Subsequently, ubiquitous environmental contamination by these common chemical is frequently reported. In the present study, we have evaluated the level of exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), brominated diphenyl ethers (BDEs), and organophosphorous flame retardants (OPFRs) in pet cats through the analysis of their serum. We also analyzed the level exposure to such chemicals in a series of 20 cat owners, trying to disclose the role of pet cats as sentinel species of human exposure to FRs. Our results showed that PCBs, banned 40 years ago, showed the lowest levels of exposure, followed by BDEs—banned recently. Congeners PCB-138 and PCB-180 were detected in ≥50% of the series, while BDE-47 was detected in near 90% of the pet cats. On the other hand, the highest levels were that of OPFRs, whose pattern of detection was similar to that observed in humans, thus suggesting a potential role of cats as a sentinel species for human exposure to these currently used FRs. Six out of 11 OPFRs determined [2-ethylhexyldiphenyl phosphate, tributylphosphate, triisobutylphosphate, triphenylphosphate, tris (2-chloroethyl) phosphate, and tris (2-chloroisopropyl) phosphate] were detected in 100% of the samples. It will be interesting to perform future studied aimed to elucidating the potential toxicological effects of these highly detected chemicals both, in cats and humans.


Mason N McLary

HABRI Central

Date 2017
Publication Title Frontiers in Veterinary Science
Volume 4
Issue 79
Publisher Frontiers
DOI 10.3389/fvets.2017.00079
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Luis A. Henríquez-Hernández; Elena Carretón; María Camacho; José Alberto Montoya-Alonso; Luis D. Boada; Verónica Bernal Martín; Yaiza Falcón Cordón; Soraya Falcón Cordón; Manuel Zumbado; Octavio P. Luzardo (2017), "Potential Role of Pet Cats As a Sentinel Species for Human Exposure to Flame Retardants,"

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  1. Animal roles
  2. Animals in culture
  3. Animal welfare
  4. Cats
  5. Health
  6. Mammals
  7. Pet ownership
  8. Pets and companion animals
  9. Physical environment
  10. pollution
  11. sentinel animals
  12. Social Environments