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emily lauber

on 23 July 2015

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Transcript of CAT LITTER: WHAT A MESS!

Your cat litter might kill you.

What are the types of cat litter and what is in it!?
Sillica gel or "crystal" litter
form of sillicon dioxide
Clumping Litter
bentonite clay
zeolite, diatomite, sepiolite
corn cobs, wood, paper, walnuts, dried orange peels
Crystalline Sillica
1986 - public warnings of possible toxic products
continuing the sale of cat litter, just posting a nice sign explaining your health is compromised.
good example of how the victim is being blamed and forced to carry the weight of problem.
BENTONITE clay or clumping litter can be toxic if consumed.
Cats with anemia often develop
, a condition of uncontrollable eating of non-edible objects.
- Thus clumping litter can pose as a health risk!

OBSERVATION: Cat litter is odd.
When I pour some types of litters, a dust surrounds the area. If I am not careful it gets in my eyes and mouth. Sometimes It does not clump, and does not prevent odors like the box tells me it will. What is this stuff? Is it harmful? Where does this come from? When I throw it away, will it bother other living things? Can I keep it in the same room as my food and bed? Is my cat safe? Am I?

"Businesses are required to provide a
"clear and reasonable"
warning before knowingly and intentionally exposing anyone to a listed chemical. This warning can be given by a variety of means, such as by labeling a consumer product, posting signs at the workplace, distributing notices at a rental housing complex, or publishing notices in a newspaper. " - Office of Environmental Heath
Hazard Assessment
The least common but most environmentally friendly is biodegradable litter. From the article "Strip mining kitty litter." User "Deb Dedon" gives us some insight with the problems she faces with typical litter:

known carcinogen!
STRIP MINING: How bentonite for litter is obtained
CATS are smarter than you think...
Blowing up mountains

- ASPCA https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/cat-care/cat-litter

Clumping cat litter inventor Dr. Thomas Nelson a biochemist grad student at the time was also raising persian cats and explains his discovery:

“I hunted around and found clays that were dried but not baked. They were very absorbent and would form a clump when the cat urinated on them. The clump could then be removed, thereby getting rid of the urine. I had a box of litter I did not change in 10 years—I just added more—and it had absolutely no odor at all.”
Although cat litter was not developed until the 1950's, crystalline sillica was a known hazard some 20 years earlier when 700 mine workers died of acute silicosis in West Virginia. Law suits were filed shortly after those deaths, and with related deaths in recent decades, lawsuits continue against hazardous workplace practices in relation to crystalline sillica.
Linda Regis, From the Sandbox to Sandblasting: Regulation of Crystalline Silica
January 1999 Article 7

To Clump or Not to Clump
Its important to note just as humans have their own individual health issues, cats do too! A chemical exposure combined with other issues, other chemical exposures means unknown consequences.
SILLICA litter or "gel" litter has been conntected to CANCER & OTHER ILLNESSES:

- Lung cancer, silicosis, COPD, lupus, sarcoidosis, kidney disease, arthritis and autoimmune problems are
acutely related to prolonged occupational exposure.

SILLICA litter or "gel" litter has been conntected to CANCER & OTHER ILLNESSES:
Lung cancer, silicosis, COPD, lupus, sarcoidosis, kidney disease, arthritis and autoimmune problems are
acutely related to prolonged occupational exposure.

You can now imagine mountains and entire ecosystems being blown to bits everytime your kitten decides to make a fecal deposit.
Cat litter is made from clay mined from the death of ecosystems, and harm to mine workers. This same clay can kill your cat if your cat decides to make a bad call or gets too hungry. The clay litter and the sillica litter both can be damaging to lungs in cats AND humans.

All of this comes back to your cat relieving himself inside the home. The longer life expentancy of a cat staying inside (not becoming roadkill) becomes null when considering the litterbox may cause health problems for the cat's life too. If you have attachment issues then it might be worth the risk of inhaling the cat litter every week when cleaning the litter box, getting a crystalline sillica grain in your cereal every so often, or seeing your cat drink water he put litter in by accident.
From research I have done,
it is obvious the long term occupational health hazards of cat litter, but what is not obvious if anyone should really care that much. Deaths in cats and humans from cat litter exposure are rare. The real problem lies in the mining industry and the people and environment it harms in the United States. The mining industry provides jobs but also contributes to global warming and major health concerns for workers. If one wanted to discover the pros and cons of using cat litter versus biodegrable litter, then looking towards the mining industry is the key.
a study conducted in Breathitt County, Kentucky in 1977 showed strip mining damaged the ecosystem by altering the concentrations of ground water run-off.
A cat case study from the Journal of Veterinary and Human Toxicology reported a cat who liked to nibble on his litter (Tidy Cats) and became ill with a heart murmur, lethargy, depression, ataxia, and dehydration. They changed his litter from non-bentonite clay litter and he got better within days. It goes into detail later that they switched back to TidyCats and ended up at the vet again. This case not only is important to notice the effects of the toxic litter, but the struggle the pet owners faced trying to possibly find cheap litter at the same time care for their pet. They had to weigh the cat's worth versus dealing with other litter. For some pet owners this might be a no-brainer, but for others it might be more complicated. In some ways this is a similar battle many mine or factory workers face when they are knowingly being exposed to harmful chemicals. They need a job, and must weigh their life over the need of an income.
Altering the ground also alters the chemistry in the ground and water affecting the surrounding wildlife (pH, Ca, Na &Mg for example).
another example of profit of coal, and other raw materials outweighing the consquences of the environment.
Maybe we have more options than we think!
Full transcript