Expertox, a Texas lab, has found elevated levels of lead, chromium, and cadmium in two Chinese-made pet toys sold at Wal-Mart. But two veterinarians said the levels found by the lab are not a health risk to cats and dogs.
The lab was hired by ConsumerAffairs.com to test two dog toys and two cat toys for heavy metals and other toxins.
A dog chew toy, a green monster, tested positive for what the lab categorizes as high levels of lead and chromium. The lab detected lead levels of 907.4 micrograms per kilogram (almost one part per million). Chromium was found at levels of 334.9 micrograms per kilogram. Levels of cadmium, arsenic and mercury were also found in the green monster toy.
The lab said with that kind of concentration, if a dog puts the toy in his mouth and chews or licks it, he is being exposed to a good amount of lead and runs the risk of metal toxicity that may shorten his life.
Expertox said a cloth catnip toy also tested positive for a “tremendous amount” of the toxic metal cadmium. The levels of cadmium found were 236 micrograms per kilogram.
Two other Wal-Mart pet toys were analyzed, a cloth hedgehog for dogs and a plastic dumbbell toy for cats. Expertox found cadmium in those two pet toys, but the lab toxicologist said the levels found were similar to the amount in one cigarette and not considered significant.
The director of Expertox’s lab, forensic toxicologist Dr. Ernest Lykissa, Ph.D., said the levels found in the green monster and catnip toys are potentially toxic. He said Wal-Mart should take these products off of the shelves or put a warning label on the toys saying that they are poisonous.
He added that lead goes to the brain and causes learning disorders in children, and chromium is a cancer producing agent.
Lykissa is worried about the high levels of metals and toxins the lab found in the pet toys.
â€œThese (toxic) materials came off the toys freely, like with the lick of the tongue from a dog or cat,â€ he said. â€œThey were readily liberated from these toys. We didnâ€™t take a sledge hammer and pound on them. I just did what a dog or cat would do by licking it. Thatâ€™s why this is so serious.â€
Lykissa added that they didn’t dissolve the toys, but instead the metals and toxins were coming off of the toys. He stated: “Somebodyâ€™s saliva or the sweat in their hands would freely pick up these materials. And thatâ€™s absorbing it. If you ate the materials, like a dog might, it would be worse.â€
But two veterinarians who saw the lab’s test results disagree. They said the levels of lead and other toxins found in the pet toys should not raise a toxicity concern for dogs and cats.
Dr. Mike Murphy of the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine, who holds a Ph.D. in toxicology, said: â€œLatex paint can contain one-half to one percent of lead, which is 10,000 parts per million. What he (Dr. Lykissa) is saying is that one part per million is a risk. But latex paint is 10,000 times higher than that and we donâ€™t recognize latex paint as a toxicity risk to dogs and cats. I consider these to be extremely low numbers and they are not a toxicological concern for pet owners.â€
Dr. Fred Oehme from Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine said the toxicity risks to pets from the toys depend on how much is absorbed in their bodies. He said most animals require 30 parts per million of their total daily diet before it results into a problem with lead.
He added: â€œI think theyâ€™re a potential hazard â€“ just like a car can be a potential hazard. The hazard in this case implies how the compound is being used and its availability. Iâ€™m more concerned about the lead than the other two (heavy metals). Lead accumulates and if it gets into the body, it builds up.â€
Wal-Mart did not respond to ConsumerAffairs.com when they contacted the company about Expertox’s findings.
(Thanks Jonathan, The Writing On The Wal)