c The Toxic Truth about your dogs bed - Hixx
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The Toxic Truth

Toxic

Hixx was founded as a direct response to the chemicals found in most dog beds. We are not just designers that are dog lovers, we are customers too and we are careful about what we bring into our homes because it directly affects our families, animals and our environment. Whilst Hixx is a brand, it's also a deeply personal engagement with a love for dogs and all animals at the heart of it. With the increase of Toxic Home Syndrome we thought it was important to uncover the truth of what is in pets beds.

You can go along way asking questions that others don't ask. That's what we did and here is what we found out.

Polyurethane Foam

This is what is in most of the cheaper and some of the expensive beds in either a solid or chipped form. It is basically petroleum with added chemicals. It's made from a non renewable resource (oil) and whilst claims as to its recyclability have been made, it has proved to be difficult and has a very limited application and so most of it still ends up in landfill. Even the best of these foams break down losing up to half of their weight over a ten year period of use. Polyurethane oxidises and creates a dust that settles around the home and it also off gases a neurotoxin called Toluene [i] which is then breathed in by its inhabitants. Depressingly, it's worse for animals as they will lick their paws and coat thereby ingesting it. A chemical cocktail that just isn't possible to drink responsibly.

This is all bad enough however if you enclose all of this into a covered bed you effectively create a gas chamber.

Components researched:

Formaldehyde [ii]

Skin irritation (dermatitis).

Irritation to the mucous membranes, eyes, nose and throat.

Gastrointestinal irritation.

Ocular exposure to formaldehyde may result in permanent alterations to vision or blindness.

Carcinogenic.

Isocyanates [iii]

Asthma.

Skin irritation (dermatitis).

Irritation to the mucous membranes, eyes, nose and throat.

Gastrointestinal irritation.

Chemical bronchitis.

Pneumonitis.

Hives.

Even if this is removed symptons may improve but acute asthma attacks may still occur after renewed exposure even if the exposure is very small or very brief. Isocyanates are insoluble in water, and are not easily washed off.

Methylene Chloride or Dichloromethane [iv]

Carcinogenic.

Prolonged and excessive inhilation can cause death.

Mucous membrane irritant.

Can harm the nervous system producing nausea and confusion.

Can form carbon monoxide in the body which decreases the ability to carry oxygen.

May aggravate existing heart conditions.

Trichloroethane [v]

Highly toxic by inhalation, ingestion and skin contact.

Can cause central nervous system depression which can lead to loss of consciousness.

Skin irritation (dermatitis).

Eye irritation.

Benzene [vi]

Toxic by inhalation and ingestion.

Harmful and irritant.

Carcinogen and possible mutagen.

Acute exposure to low levels can be irritating to eyes and can result in drowsiness, tachycardia, headaches, tremors, confusion and unconsciousness.

Mucous membrane irritant.

Can cause leukaemia.

 

Memory Foam

Lose your memory

Memory foam is essentially a polyurethane with more chemicals added to it to give it its viscosity and elasticity properties which allow it to regain its shape.

Often purchased for elderly dogs to ensure maximum orthopaedic support, memory foam beds are easily one of the most toxic beds available. The problem isn't just what's in them but also how it reacts with the body.

It is designed to mould to the body but because of this it can cause difficulty when your dog wants to turn over especially for one that has poor mobility. Also, low quality memory foam mattresses tend to flatten and as a result position you animal unnaturally. This leads to poor blood circulation, increased stress on pressure points and uncomfortable joints. In other words it is doing the exact opposite to what it's intended to do.

Additional to that, it holds in the heat and moisture which makes for a hot and uncomfortable experience for your animal. A 2002 study published in the European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology reported the presence of dust mites in polyurethane foam mattresses at four times more than in spring mattresses. It can also be next to impossible to remove mites, bacteria and allergens from these mattresses.

Here are some additional chemicals that you should be aware of:

Methyl Benzene [vii]

May affect the nervous system if inhaled.

Methylene dianiline / MDA [viii] [ix]

Suspected carcinogen.

Can cause liver and thyroid damage if ingested.

Eye irritant.

Skin irritant.

Vinylidene chloride [x]

Possible carcinogen.

Linked with respiratory problems and central nervous system side effects.

Dimethylformamide[xi]

Can cause liver damage.

Skin irritant.

Embryotoxic.

 

Fire Retardants

Playing with fire

Because foams are extremely flammable they are sprayed with fire retardant chemicals. Many of these potent chemicals have been linked to a broad range of serious health risks, including infertility, birth defects, neurodevelopmental delays [xii],reduced IQ and behavioral problems in children [xiii], hormone disruptions [xiv] and cancer. They are also known endocrine disruptors and neurotoxicants in animals [xv] [xvi].

In fact, flame retardant chemicals have been identified as one of 17 "high priority" chemical groups that should be avoided to reduce breast cancer [xvii] [xviii] [xix]. However, the effectiveness of these chemicals is hotly disputed and there is virtually no evidence to support their use. Infact they only serve to make the air more toxic and you are more likely to die of toxic gas inhalation in a fire than from the fire itself.

But you don't need a fire to stir up this chemical brew. Because some of these chemicals aren't chemically bonded they don't stay in the foam but instead join the toxic migration into the house dust which is then breathed in by all its occupants [xx]. So alarming are the effects on people, animals and the environment that nearly 150 scientists from 22 countries have signed a open letter raising their concerns [xxi].

 

Stain resistant finishes

Blot on the landscape

These really are the icing on the cake. They fit within the family of PFC ( Perfluorocarbon) chemicals and are commonly known as Scotchguard, Teflon, Nanotex, Greenshield Zepel and Crypton Green.

Unnaturally persistent, they break down in the body and in the environment to form PFOA, PFOS and other chemicals that take decades to dissipate ( as long as you don't take on board anymore).

Whilst the long term health effects are little known [xxii]we do know that the are responsible for reduced fertility [xxiii] [xxiv] and have been classified as a likely human carcinogen [xxv] [xxvi].

In animals, exposure to PFCs have been linked to liver toxicity [xxvii], liver cancer [xxviii] and various hormonal [xxix], developmental and immune system abnormalities [xxx]. Also, increased neonatal and adult mortality [xxxi] [xxxii].

 References

[i] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/469420/Toluene_Diisocyanate_IM_PHE_191015.pdf

[ii] http://apps.sepa.org.uk/spripa/Pages/SubstanceInformation.aspx?pid=57

[iii] http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/isocyanates/

[iv] http://www.chemicals.co.uk/uploads/documents/DICHLOROMETHANE-TECHNICAL-MSDS.pdf

[v] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/318882/HPA_Compendia_of_Chemical_Hazards_TRICHLOROETHYLENE_v3.pdf

[vi] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/316487/Benzene_guidance.pdf

[vii] http://www.bt.cdc.gov/agent/benzene/basics/facts.asp

[viii] http://www.inchem.org/documents/sids/sids/101779.pdf

[ix] http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/tf.asp?id=1000&tid=210

[x] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/338284/hpa_vinyl_chloride_toxicological_overview_v1.pdf

[xi] http://oehha.ca.gov/air/chronic_rels/pdf/68122.pdf

[xii] 7 Environmental Health Perspectives November 15, 2012 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23154064

[xiii] Environ Health Perspect. 2009 Dec; 117(12): 1953–1958.

Published online 2009 Aug 31. doi: 10.1289/ehp.0901015

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2799472/

[xiv] Environ Health Perspect. 2010 May;118(5):699-704. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20103495

[xv] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18315715

[xvi] NIEHS - National Institutes of Health. Endocrine Disruptors

http://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/endocrine/

[xvii] Environ Health Perspect; DOI:10.1289/ehp.1307455

http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/1307455/

[xviii] http://www.breastcanceruk.org.uk/uploads/Ministerial_Briefing_BFRs_in_the_UK.pdf

[xix] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24818537

[xx] Harrad S, de Wit CA, Abdallah MAE, Bergh C, Bjorklund JA, Covaci A, et al. Indoor contamination with hexabromocyclododecanes, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, and perfluoroalkyl compounds: an important exposure pathway for people? Environ Sci Technol. 2010;44:3221–3231. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20387882

[xxi] Environ Health Perspect. 2010 Dec; 118(12): A516–A518.

Published online 2010 Oct 28. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1003089. San Antonio Statement on Brominated and Chlorinated Flame Retardants - NCBI - National Institutes of Health.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3002202/

[xxii] Polyfluorinated Compounds: Past, Present, and Future

Andrew B. Lindstrom,†,* Mark J. Strynar,† and E. Laurence Libelo‡

†National Exposure Research Laboratory, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

http://www.greensciencepolicy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Lindstrom-Strynar-and-Libelo-2011.pdf

[xxiii] Fei C, McLaughlin JK, Lipworth L, Olsen J. Maternal levels of perfluorinated chemicals and subfecundity. Hum Reprod. 2009 May;24(5):1200-5.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19176540

[xxiv] Joensen UN, Bossi R, Leffers H, Jensen AA, Skakkebaek NE, Jorgensen N. Do perfluoroalkyl compounds impair human semen quality? Environ Health Perspect. 2009 Jun;117(6):923-7.

http://f1000.com/prime/1162954

 

[xxv] U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Draft Risk Assessment of the Potential Human Health Effects Associated With Exposure to Perfluorooctanoic Acid and Its Salts (PFOA). Washington, DC: EPA; 2005 [cited 2010 Aug 3].

http://www.epa.gov/oppt/pfoa/pubs/pfoarisk.html.

[xxvi] Renner R, Christen K. Scientists hail PFOA reduction plan. Environ Sci Technol. 2006 April 1, 2006;40(7):2083.

[xxvii] Seacat AM, Thomford PJ, Hansen KJ, Olsen GW, Case MT, Butenhoff JL. Subchronic toxicity studies on perfluorooctanesulfonate potassium salt in cynomolgus monkeys. Toxicol Sci. 2002 Jul;68(1):249-64.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12075127

[xxviii] 3MCompany.104-weekdietarychronictoxicityand carcinogenicity study with perfluorooctane sulfonic acid potassium salt (PFOS; T-6295) in rats. Final report. St Paul, MN: 3M Company. 2002 Jan 2, 2002. Report No.: US EPA Administrative Record, AR-226-0956.

[xxix] Bookstaff RC, Moore RW, Ingall GB, Peterson RE. Androgenic deficiency in male rats treated with perfluorodecanoic acid. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 1990 Jun 15;104(2):322-33.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2363183

[xxx] Lau C, Thibodeaux JR, Hanson RG, Rogers JM, Grey BE, Stanton ME, et al. Exposure to perfluorooctane sulfonate during pregnancy in rat and mouse. II: postnatal evaluation. Toxicol Sci. 2003 Aug;74(2):382- 92.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12773772

[xxxi] Seacat AM, Thomford PJ, Hansen KJ, Olsen GW, Case MT, Butenhoff JL. Subchronic toxicity studies on perfluorooctanesulfonate potassium salt in cynomolgus monkeys. Toxicol Sci. 2002 Jul;68(1):249-64.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12075127

[xxxii] Lau C, Thibodeaux JR, Hanson RG, Rogers JM, Grey BE, Stanton ME, et al. Exposure to perfluorooctane sulfonate during pregnancy in rat and mouse. II: postnatal evaluation. Toxicol Sci. 2003 Aug;74(2):382- 92.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12773772