Protect Your Pets! Don't use store carpet cleaning chemicals... Here is why.

Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images Entertainment / Getty Images
Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images Entertainment / Getty Images

Diane had a cat that suffered for many years from an over-active thyroid and excessive shedding. Her cats vet could never exactly figure out what caused her condition. She was an indoor cat, so there was no way she would have picked up something from the neighborhood. It never occurred to Diane that the source of her problem could be right in her own house.

I read about a study done by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG). Researchers found that pet cats and dogs are being contaminated with even higher levels of the same synthetic industrial chemicals that have been found in people. The findings gave Diane another reason to switch to steam carpet cleaning.

The research results were sobering. All 20 dogs and 40 cats studied were contaminated with 48 of 70 industrial chemicals tested. Average levels of many chemicals were substantially higher in pets than is typical for people, with 2.4 times higher levels of stain-and grease-proof coatings (perfluorochemicals) in dogs, 23 times more fire retardants (PBDEs) in cats, and more than 5 times the amounts of mercury, compared to average levels in people found in other studies conducted by the CDC and EWG.

When you stop and think about it, it makes unfortunate sense. Our pets spend all of their time crawling around the floor or laying on the rugs and furniture, exposing them every day to any chemicals we use. She hated to think that the solvent she was using to clean up spilled wine, were being inhaled by her pets, or rubbing off on their paws, which they would then lick. Diane actually had two cats, plus a dog. She says, "I didn’t want any of them endangered."

However, not only were these cleansers bad for her beloved animals. They were bad for her and her children, too. "We spent a lot of time on the floor when our kids were babies, toddlers, and pre-teens. They were being exposed to the same chemicals that the pets were."

Here’s another worrisome impact from these chemical exposures: They stick around. Many of the toxic ingredients used in common industrial and household cleansers have a tendency to concentrate in the body, creating what is called a “body burden” of chemicals that can combine for negative effect. Pets, with their compressed lifespans, develop and age seven or more times faster than people do. As a result, pets can develop health problems in response to these chemical exposures much more rapidly.

Health problems in pets span high rates of cancer in dogs and skyrocketing incidence of hyperthyroidism in cats. Genetic changes can’t explain the increases in certain health problems among pets, leaving scientists to believe that chemical exposures play a significant role.

Once she realized how dangerous carpet cleaning chemicals from the store could be, Diane took the following step:

"I switched to steam cleaning."

Steam cleaning relies on steaming hot water to penetrate dirt and work away grime, without the need for heavy chemicals usage. Leaving the bare minimum of chemical residue behind. 

How do you keep your carpets clean without exposing your pets to toxic chemicals? We’d love to hear your tips! Leave them in the comments below or email us!