Scientists have found chemical flame retardants in the blood of pet dogs at concentrations five to 10 times higher than in humans, but lower than levels found in a previous study of cats. Chemicals are bad for PEOPLE too: A recent study found that higher levels of perfluorocarbons (PFCs) in the body are associated with increased odds of having experienced early menopause in women between 42 and 64 years old. Women in this age group with high levels of PFCs also had significantly lower concentrations of estrogen when compared to women who had low levels of PFCs. And plastic bottles are bad for MEN too: They lead to lower sperm counts.

A new study focuses on the presence of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in the blood of dogs and in commercial dog food. PBDEs are widely used as flame retardants in household furniture and electronics equipment. The compounds can migrate out of the products and enter the environment, and there are some new mixtures being used, and scientists aren’t sure how safe they are. Venier says, "The concentrations of these newer flame retardants were relatively low compared to the PBDEs, but the fact that they are new and not regulated suggests their levels are going to increase in the future." Marta Venier and Ronald Hites explored whether pets could serve as "biosentinels" for monitoring human exposure to compounds present in the households that they share. Dogs may be better at this than cats, they say, because a dog’s metabolism is better equipped to break down the chemicals.

Is YOUR dog likely to succumb to pesticide pollution? In the April 22nd edition of the New York Times, Nicholas Bakalar reports that a group of researchers who looked at almost ;75,000 cases of dog deaths that took place from 1984 to 2004 found that golden retrievers and boxers had the highest rates of cancer, the leading cause of canine death over all. In several toy breeds–Chihuahua, Pekingese, Pomeranians and toy poodles–cancer was much less common.

Bring your dog along to the Dreamland Festival in Nashville (if your hotel doesn’t mind)–the place is flower-filled in the summer, everyone seems to be walking around carrying a guitar! Come visit this beautiful city when its at its best, during the Dreamland Festival in June. But don’t delay: Tickets are selling out fast!

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