Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Own a dog or cat? You need to read this.

I recently came across a fantastic site, fake plastic fish.  Great name and the information contained on the site is very powerful.  Beth Terry saw an article "Plastic Ocean", which I cannot share with you here as the website is under going maintenance. The article was about the amount of plastic that ends up in our oceans and what it does to our ocean life. From that point Beth started to eliminate plastic from her life. (Read more about Beth Terry here.)

This is something that is important to me, from two stand points.  First the environment and secondly my health.  Having lost a breast to cancer 10 years ago I read a lot about plastic and their effect on oestrogen levels, so I too started eliminating plastic, mostly with regard to my food.  So when I saw this site I was hooked.  Beth has kindly allowed me to reproduce a recent post of hers on plastic and it's effects on our pets.  As you know I have two Abyssinian cats and Libby does seem to be suffering the problem mentioned here and, yes, I must admit I was using plastic bowls.  I've now switched and things seem to be improving.

Before I add the post, I'd also like to recommend you take the one week plastic challenge Beth suggests.  I completed it and was amazed and realised more I can do and Beth's feedback was really helpful.  You can see a week's worth of my plastic here.  There is also a fantastic Plastic-Free Guide that shows you how to substitute those things you thought always had to be made of plastic.  Now read on about plastic feed bowls for dogs and cats.

Cat & Dog Acne from Plastic Bowls?

Our cats have always eaten their homemade food out of nice ceramic dishes that we got for free or almost free at a yard sale. (Arya is practicing her scary Halloween demon kitty face.)



But apparently, not all cats are so lucky. Michael came home last Friday and told me his workmate’s cat had developed acne, and that her vet said she should stop feeding him from a plastic bowl. Huh? I mean, I’ve heard a lot of negative things about plastic, but that was a really new one for me.

So I Googled “cat acne plastic,” and guess what: it’s conventional wisdom (although I haven’t found a definitive source) that cats can develop acne on their chins from eating out of plastic bowls. (Dogs, too! Google “dog acne plastic.”)

DIRTY PLASTIC BOWLS
According to About.com:Cats:

"Plastic food dishes have long been suspected as a culprit in chin acne. Plastic is a magnet for bacteria and dirt that work their way into scratches and nicks, reinfecting your cat and/or spreading bacteria to other cats in the household. Veterinarians and other feline experts recommend using only glass or metal food bowls, and daily washing of those, in order to help prevent this common condition."

It does make sense. Plastic is lipophyllic, meaning that it attracts oils. Have you noticed how hard it can be to clean grease off of plastic? And once plastic is roughed up a bit, it’s even harder to clean. Our ceramic dishes, on the other hand, clean up beautifully.

PLASTIC ALLERGIES
Also, some pets are allergic to plastic, and what appears to be acne is actually an allergic reaction. According to The Human Society’s Complete Guide to Cat Care:

"Many cats are allergic to plastic. Replace plastic food and water bowls with stainless steel, U.S.-made ceramic (glazes on foreign made ceramics often contain lead), or heavy glass. If your cat habitually lounges on plastic surfaces, drape his favorite spots with thick, soft towels to prevent skin contact. Plastic allergies are often betrayed by outbreaks of rashes or raised, itchy patches on your cat’s throat, neck and chin — where he touches his food and water bowls."

HORMONES?

Maybe the reason for pet breakouts is bacteria trapped in plastic, and maybe it’s plastic allergies, but I want to suggest another reason: leaching chemicals. Okay, don’t quote me on this! I haven’t found any studies definitively linking the chemicals in plastic to outbreaks of acne, but consider this: many plastics contain hormone-disruptors like bisphenol-a and phthalates. And changes in hormones are a major cause of acne.

I don’t know if the chemicals in plastic affect hormones in such a way as to promote acne or if they might even do the opposite. Biosphenol-A, in fact, mimics estrogen, not the male hormones associated with acne. But I’m just tossing the idea out there that we’ve created this environmental soup of endocrine-disrupting chemicals, and no one really knows what the long term affects will be for us or for the animals with which we share this planet. Why wait to find out? Let’s just stop feeding ourselves and our loved ones, including 4-legged ones, out of plastic
*****
 
My thanks, once again, to Beth Terry of fake plastic fish for allowing me to reproduce this piece for you, and for doing so much for our environment. 
 
So what do you think?  Could you take some plastic out of your life?

8 comments:

  1. Thanks for that, what great tips, ideas and simple solutions to a growing problem.

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  2. Cheryl, thanks for the write up on Fake Plastic Fish! I'm glad you are finding the site useful. And I hope you can clear up Libby's kitty acne. Cheers!

    Beth

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  3. Thanks for the tip. One of our cats eats from a plastic bowl that came with his food. No longer! I will also stop drinking form plastic glasses.

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  4. Very good sense.We use old china saucers, and metal bowls for their water.They don't eat tinned food or food with preservatives...more problems there too.

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  5. Wow, I had no idea. I'm off to get a new food bowl for the dog. The cats have been eating from stoneware for a long time. Thank you for the information.

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  6. Out tomorrow to buy some new bowls for my cats, the dog has a stainless steel one, buy the cats bowls are plastic, thanks for the info........

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  7. What an enlightening post for the pets we love so much! I have ceramic but you have to be careful of them too,..sometimes the paint used is toxic especially if made in China.
    I have not liked plastic for microwave too and use glass whenever I can because I think it is healthier for you. I, too, have breast cancer in the family and am more mindful of toxins for that reason....good post!!

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  8. Thanks for the info! I've been trying to go more plastic free for a while now and that's really good info to keep me motivated to improve!

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What do you think?