Common flame redardant could be killing cats.

Science Daily reports on a veterinarian, Janice A. Dye, who might have found the cause of feline hyperthyroidism, an epidemic that’s been afflicting cats for nearly three decades. It’s dust from chemicals found in our homes… and in canned cat food:

Dye, a toxicologist, began by hypothesizing that prolonged contact with certain polyurethane foams and components of carpet padding, furniture and mattresses would pose the greatest hazard for developing FH. In addition, the researchers suspected that diet might be another risk factor for developing FH. To see if a link existed, they analyzed PBDE content in several cat food brands.

Their analysis found that PBDE content of canned fish/seafood flavors, such as salmon and whitefish, was higher than dry or non-seafood canned items. Based on the analysis, they estimate that diets based on canned food could have PBDE levels 12 times as high as dry-food diets. The researchers indicate that pet cats might be receiving as much as 100 times greater dietary PBDE exposure than American adults.

With their meticulous grooming behavior, cats may ingest large amounts of dust that collect on their fur. “Our results showed that cats are being consistently exposed to PBDEs,” Dye said. “Because they are endocrine-disrupting agents, cats may well be at increased risk for developing thyroid effects.”