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How Safe Is That Dog Toy?
Lead and arsenic in dog beds, tennis balls and more.

Another round of tests has revealed nasty toxins in chew toys, collars and beds. According to report by Lisa Wade McCormick posted at ConsumerAffairs.com last night, recent tests of a variety of household products, including pet items, revealed “lead, brominated flame retardants (BFR), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), cadmium, arsenic and mercury, which studies have linked to birth defects, impaired learning, liver toxicity and cancer.”

Pets and children are most vulnerable to exposure, according to a Michigan-based testing agency, HealthyStuff.org, with dogs and cats who lick, chew and swallow described as “the canary in the coal mine in terms of chemical exposure.”

Healthystuff.org tested more than 400 dog and cat products, of which 90 percent were made in China.

“Overall, 45% of the pet products contained detectable levels of one or more hazardous chemicals, the group found. Some of the products contained levels of lead that are higher than the new standard allowed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for children’s toys—300 parts per million (PPM).”

McCormick is careful to point out that there are no government standards for levels of lead or other toxins in pet products (this needs to change) and that experts, including veterinarians, don’t agree on the health impacts of exposure. Hardly a surprise.

But I wonder, why take the risk? According to HealthyStuff.org, these chemicals aren’t essential, and plenty of products including the AirKong Squeaker Fetch toy; the Langer Wild Ginger pet bed, and MTA Practice Tennis Balls are lead- and toxin-free. (I was happy to learn that regular old Wilson tennis balls are a clean bet for fetchers.) We need to continue to push for better consumer protection, rules that treat dogs like the important family members they are, and, in the meantime, we need to be smarter about the choices we make for our vulnerable companions. Check out a complete list of tested pet products.

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Lisa Wogan lives in Seattle and is the author of, most recently, Dog Park Wisdom. lisawogan.com

iStockphoto.

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Submitted by Fenne | October 3 2011 |

Fun to find a picture that I have made!

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