Thyroid UK
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Environmental causes of thyroid disease in cats (and us?!)

Or - in full:

This is a really interesting article that explores an environmental explanation for the epidemic of feline hyperthyroidism and asks the provocative question, "If household chemicals are wreaking havoc on the hormones of cats, what are they doing to us?"

[ Edited by admin to add the full link. the shortened link doesn't convert to a hyperlink properly. Some people also distrust links they cannot directly understand. ]

11 Replies

sorry the link didn't work. Here it is:

New York Times, The Mystery of the Wasting House-Cats

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Yes I've heard about this potential link which is partly why I am trying to go flame retardant free (and using chemical free toiletries and cleaning products, many of which also have endocrine disrupting ingredients) at home. It's not easy or cheap though. In the US, a few states have changed the law making it easier to produce furniture without flame retardants due to health concerns. A couple of European countries also do this. In the US there have been big anti-flame retardant campaigns but oddly not so over here. UK government have done a couple of consultations but have been resistant to making changes due to pressure from industry. Very frustrating when you just don't want that s**t in your house! Also very frustrating when you learn that flame retardant chemicals don't even work that well. There's very few manufacturers able to produce furniture that meets the UK's match test without the use of chemical flame retardants, which makes choice very limited.

There was an article in a few papers recently about research linking flame retardants to the spike in thyroid cancer eg...

Interestingly, they reference someone called Terry Edge who apparently resigned from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy after his calls for flame retardants to be banned were not implemented.

Terry Edge has a website that's v interesting...

The more you read and find out, the more scandalous that people are being allowed to effectively live in a potentially dangerous chemical soup in their homes and no-one appears to be doing anything or be remotely concerned! It's not the case in other countries so not sure why the British response appears to be so blase. Very odd.

Am considering contacting Terry and the EWG in the US to see if we can get something going in this country but am feeling so exhausted at the moment it's not something I can cope with right now. Perhaps that's why there's no public outcry, all the people affected are too ill and exhausted to do anything!!!


Wow, that's a lot of good information. Thanks, MiniMum97. (and thanks for the edit, helvella) I look forward to hearing more from Terry Edge, as he develops his website.

"Perhaps that's why there's no public outcry, all the people affected are too ill and exhausted to do anything!!!"

I think you're onto something there. And many hypos log a lot of hours on their sofas! :-o


Hi MiniMum97 and everyone else.

I am Terry Edge - just picked up this site via a Google search. There is a small group of us here in the UK trying to bring about change, but it's difficult. The chemical industry is incredibly rich and has all sorts of people in its pay including fire brigade union officials, unfortunately - despite those officials knowing that toxic flame retardants are giving their own people cancers in much larger amounts than normal.

Regarding the match, or small flame, test the UK and Ireland (who copied our Regulations) are the only two countries in the world who use it. Which means our cover fabrics are stuffed with toxic brominated FRs. As you say, this is despite the fact that the government itself proved that this test doesn't even work in the vast majority of cases.

About five years ago I became aware of the problems with FRs and set about changing the Regulations to cut out as much of them as possible. I worked with a genius technician called Steve Owen who is full of integrity. We worked with all leading experts for a year and a half to produce a new test that would have cut FR use in covers by 50% overnight and allowed new technologies that would have removed them altogether. The only problem was that the chemical industry would lose £50m plus per year. You can probably guess the rest!

I ended up fighting my entire Department over it. My managers were too weak to stand up to the chemical industry and in one case had almost certainly been bought by them (the same companies did the same thing in the US). Eventually, they pushed me out of the job. Which was bad enough but the management rats all deserted the ship, so that there is no one there now with any experience to bring in the changes. Which means the status quo will remain, and that will suit the chemical industry very nicely. Meanwhile, the entire UK public is consigned to continue breathing in toxic FR house dust and risking instant death from hydrogen cyanide (among others) within a minute or two of our sofas catching fire.

Anyway, I won't go on too much now. Happy to answer any questions/give advice, and please do check out my website:

Yes, it is very difficult to find furniture in the UK that is both FR-free and legal. Unfortunately, many producers of 'organic', 'natural', 'FR-free' furniture cheat - either by using FRs anyway or testing to the wrong test. I only know of one company that produces FR-free, legal, furniture.

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Sorry - that link to my website may not be working. But you should be able to get there by typing "" into the subject box on your browser. Thanks.


Hi Terry Thanks for taking the time to reply, I am really pleased you've made contact. I am very interested in getting involved in the campaign in some way although not sure how much I can be of help.

This whole thing is a bloody scandal but it feels like there needs to be some significant campaigning to get things higher up the agenda. Has there been an attempt to get some bigger groups on side to assist with lobbying and campaigning? Have you approached any of the environmental groups, or the groups that take up a wide range of issues like 38 degrees?

We need an EWG in the UK!!!!

If I can assist in any way at all do let me know. Feel free to PM me.

I would be very interested in knowing who the one furniture company are. I am currently looking at Ecosofa as a possibility as they can make sofas to your design. Not sure if it's against forum guidelines to name specific companies so probably best to PM.


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Hi MiniMum,

I'll PM you regarding the company - I'm sure you're right; it's not good etiquette to publicly name individual companies. Ditto the ones that are cheating!

A very good campaign got things changed in the US. It was led by a remarkable woman, and friend I'm pleased to say, Arlene Blum. Her Green Science Policy Institute website is well worth checking out - same issues and chemicals as in the UK. She was greatly helped by others, including the Chicago Tribune (who won the Pulitzer Prize for it). Check out the Tribune's website: media.apps.chicagotribune.c... Also worth tracking down an HBO award-winning documentary directed by Robert Redford's son, called 'Toxic Hot Seat'.

It's been much harder here. As you can see from my website, there have been some newspaper articles, and 'Rip-Off Britain' did something last month. But in-depth investigating is largely a thing of the past here now it seems. That and the chemical industry has a lot of reach into the media and government.

Also, the flame retardant/chemical treatment industries are especially very well-ensconced in the UK in that they sit nicely on the (now highly questionable) belief that the UK's regulations are the safest in the world. They have tame MPs to argue for them as well (who get very well rewarded for their troubles). But also, crucially (and this was not really the case in the US), they have the UK furniture industry by the short and curlies, i.e. because in 2014 we (the government) exposed the fact that most sofas are ignitable when they shouldn't be. The industry should have got behind the new match test but instead they've kept their heads down through fear of it coming out that they're continuing to sell unsafe products - unsafe twice, in that they're not fire-safe and they're stuffed with FRs that are badly affecting our health.

Yes, we've tried just about all groups, movements, etc. Unfortunately, they mostly either don't seem to want to take on the hugely powerful chemical industry or they have other agendas (which I can say more about if anyone's interested).

One thing you can do is get your MP (once he/she is in place) to write to the Minister at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. BEIS officials intend to do nothing but delay changes to reduce FRs, probably hoping that Brexit will somehow get them off the hook. Happy to give some suggested questions for your MPs.


That link did not work for me, but I found it easily enough via Google search. I was thinking this issue needs and deserves the attention of a top-flight investigative journalism team. Obviously the Trubune was able to provide that in the U.S.

I would also welcome the name of that company via PM. Thanks so much.


I'll PM you what I just sent MiniMum. As said, investigative journalism isn't what it was. In the US, too, probably - not sure the Tribune would be able to do today what it did a few years back. There have been journalists here who worked on detailed exposes only to be blocked by the paper's owners.


Hi ToxicSofa, I'm glad you made your way to us and I'm very grateful for your efforts!

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Thanks, wellness. Unfortunately, perhaps, it seems that to get anything changed requires years of chipping away at what are in essence monoliths, e.g the government, industry, etc. The two keys, here, to getting things changed are consumers and the fire services. Regarding consumers, the more that can challenge retailers, the better.

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