Using stainless steel salad tongs and simulated doggie drool, a Texas Tech researcher conducted tests on dog toys and determined some of them, under chewing-like conditions, leach chemicals that could harm dogs.
Phil Smith, an asssociate professor of terrestrial ecotoxicology — say that three times fast — presented his findings this week at the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry conference held in California.
Among the toys tested, the worst offenders appear to be plastic fetching batons, or bumpers, which are used to teach dogs how to retrieve, according to a report on his findings by Discovery.com.
Smith, who raises Labrador retrievers, uses bumpers often, and got to wondering whether — with all the reports of dangerous chemicals in plastic — they were causing harm.
“In the process of training a Lab, you do a lot of work with these plastic bumpers,” Smith said in a press release. “I have a lot of bumpers in my garage, and they spend a lot of time in the mouths of my retrievers … Since we all care about our dogs, and we want them to be as healthy and smart and well-behaved as possible, we decided to look into this.”
Smith and Kimberly Wooten, his colleague at Texas Tech University, suspected that bumpers and other dog toys could leach phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA) into the mouths and bodies of dogs. The chemicals are what give elasticity to plastic and vinyl and they are known endocrine disruptors that mimic estrogen or act as anti-androgens, according to Discovery.com.
To test for the chemicals, the researchers created simulated dog saliva, then simulated chewing by squeezing dog toys with stainless steel salad tongs. Toys were also weathered outside to determine if older toys gave off more chemicals.
“We found that the aging or weathering the toys increased concentrations of BPA and phthalates,” Smith said. “The toys had lower concentrations of phthalates than the bumpers, so that’s good news. But they also had some other chemicals that mimicked estrogen. We need to find out what those are.”
Wooten said that BPA and phthalates can have effects on developing fetuses. Studies on humans have resulted in mixed conclusions, but raised enough concern that the U.S. government banning the use of BPA in baby bottles this year.
“The interaction of pet health and environmental chemicals is understudied,” Wooten said. “What may be a safe dose for one species isn’t always a good measure for another species. But the amount of BPA and phthalates we found from the bumpers would be considered on the high end of what you might find in children’s toys.”
Posted by jwoestendiek December 13th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, baby bottles, batons, bpa, bumpers, chemicals, chewing, childrens toys, conference, dangerous, dog toys, dogs, environmental, fetching batons, golden, harmful, hazards, hunting, labrador, leach, pets, phil smith, phthalates, plastic, plastic dog toys, retrievers, safety, science, Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, terrestrial ecotoxicology, tests, texas tech, toxic, toxins, toys, training, warning
Let’s hear it for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
By a 10 to 1 vote, supervisors went on record opposing a federal proposal to restrict dogs in parts of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
The National Park Service earlier this year proposed to “completely or significantly reduce” the off-leash areas in the recreation area to “strike a balance between park landscape, native wildlife and the 16 million visitors.”
The park service is considering mandating leashes in open spaces where dogs currently roam free and banning them entirely in some popular dog-walking areas.
Dog lovers responded to the proposal swiftly, labeling it “extreme environmentalism,” and even considered suing the federal government if the proposal passed, according to the website Curbed.
In early April, Supervisor Scott Weiner introduced a resolution in opposition to the proposed dog policies. This week, all but one of the supervisors voted for it — in part out of concern that restricting dogs on the federal park land could overburden city parks.
The National Park Service has proposed restricting dogs from San Francisco’s Crissy Field, Ocean Beach and Fort Funston, which are among the most popular places to take dogs in the city.
Federal officials are still taking public comment on the plan and expect to put new rules in place next year.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 28th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, board of supervisors, changes, crissy field, dog friendly, dogs, environmental, fort funston, golden gate, golden gate national recreation area, impact, leash, national park service, ocean beach, off-leash, park service, pets, policy, proposed, restrictions, san francisco, supervisors, unleashed
For all those who fret obsessively about dogs leaving environmentally damaging messes behind — not that it’s not a valid concern — here’s a story of a dog who’s helping clean up the messes we leave behind.
Sable, a discarded German shepherd mix adopted from an animal shelter, has been trained to sniff out illegal sewer connections, which dump billions of gallons of bacteria-filled water into rivers, lakes and streams each year, leading to closed beaches, contaminating fisheries and costing millions to clean up.
Scott Reynolds adopted Sable with the idea of training him to sniff out illegal sewer connections. Now, after a year of work in Michigan’s Kawkawlin River, Sable has earned enough praise to be top dog at Environmental Canine Services, the Detroit Free Press reports.
“In the mornings, he runs to the back room and looks to the hook where his harness is, as if to say, ‘Do we get to do this today?’ ” Reynolds said. “He loves to work.”
Sable is scheduled to do his thing next in Santa Barbara, California, then head to Maine next spring to help track pollution that has closed shellfish beds along the coast.
Sable sniffs water in drains and pipes — often buried in deep woods or under fallen trees — to detect illegal sewer connections. He barks when he smells raw sewage.
Sable also has his own website, sablethesniffer.com.
Sable has an 87% accuracy rate measured against lab results, Reynolds says.
Normally, municipalities send human employees to detect illegal sewer connections — a bit of a guessing game, and a process that requires lab tests that can take weeks.
The dog was turned over by owners who mistreated him, said Autumn Russell of Mackenzie’s Animal Sanctuary, near Grand Rapids. “No one had any idea of his potential,” she said.
Reynolds, who has trained other rescued dogs for search and rescue and narcotics detection, spent more than a year training Sable to sniff out waste, ammonia and detergents that signal illegal connections.
(Photo: By Robert Domm, courtesy of Environmental Canine Services)
Posted by jwoestendiek September 24th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: bacteria, connections, contamination, detection, dog, environment, environmental, environmental canine services, hookups, illegal, michigan, sable, scott reynolds, sewage, sewer, sniff, sniffer, sniffing
Three years and $3 million in the making, the Downtown Dog Resort & Spa has opened in South Baltimore.
Owned by Baltimore attorney Barry R. Glazer, the new facility offers boarding, day care and grooming by appointment. It has a hydrotherapy pool and doggie gym, as well, and future plans call for a veterinary clinic and retail space.
Dog owners can also choose from special packages and a menu of extras that include, gourmet meals, cuddle time, bottled water and email updates. Boarding prices start at $32 a night, and go up to $49 a night for the kennnel’s “ultra resort” rooms, which are larger and offer flat screen TV, fluffy bed and web cams.
The kennel, which is taking reservations for the Christmas holidays, has 90 units, and Glazer plans to devote at least 10 spaces to rescue dogs.
It’s also very convenient to I-95 — in its shadow, in fact — in the area off Hanover Street that is home to the recently cleaned up and soon to reopen Swann Park. The park was closed in April, 2007, after tests found elevated arsenic levels in the soil. About 13,000 tons of contaminated soil were removed from the park, which was above the approved cleanup standard. It’s scheduled to reopen in 2009.
The Dog Report & Spa, at 200 W. McComas St., doesn’t have a website up yet, but it can be reached at 443-869-4071, or by emailing email@example.com.
Glazer — whatever you may think of his law firm’s TV ads (“Don’t urinate on my leg and tell me it’s raining”) – has a history of helping out dogs, footing the bill for medical services for more than a few pets rescued by Recycled Love. He was recently profiled by “b,” the Baltimore Sun’s lite version.
Here’s his famous ad, which someone recorded off a TV and put on Youtube. The urination line is a sanitized version of one in the movie “The Outlaw Josey Wales” — “Don’t piss down my back and tell me it’s raining.”
Posted by jwoestendiek December 12th, 2008 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: attorney, baltimore, barry glazer, boarding, cleanup, day care, dogs, downtown dog resort & spa, environmental, I-95, kennel, lawyer, leg, maryland, mccomas, new, opening, outlaw josey wales, raining, swann park, urinate