National Geographic discusses how dogs can be ‘early-warning systems’ for toxic chemical exposure at home. Dogs and people carry remarkably similar amounts of common household chemicals in their bodies, a possible boon for human health.
More than 10,000 years of domestication have made dogs strikingly similar to humans, from their ability to read facial our expressions to our closely related genomes. Now, a new study reveals that dogs and humans carry the same toxic chemicals in their bodies—a discovery that could possibly improve human health.
Many everyday items, from food packaging to cosmetics, contain harmful substances, such as pesticides; flame retardants; and phthalates, which are used to soften plastic. Long-term, chronic exposure to these three common chemical groups has been linked to diseases in people, including several types of cancer.
Since dogs are much like us, and share the same living space, scientists conducted the first investigation into how industrial chemicals impact humans and pet dogs living in the same household.
Using silicone wristbands and collars—a relatively new technology for detecting chemical exposure—the team found remarkable similarities between dogs and their owners’ chemical loads, according to the study, published recently in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.