It's possible that polybrominated diphenyl ethers, used as a flame retardant in a variety of household products, contribute to feline hyperthyroidism, writes veterinarian Lee Pickett. The chemical, known to interfere with thyroid function, flakes off household items, becoming part of the dust that collects on cats who then ingest it during grooming. Because the chemicals aren't efficiently metabolized by cats, they accumulate in the animals' blood at higher levels than in humans.

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