Welcome to Dashing Hamsters. I created this website back in 2005, initially to have a place to share my love of hamsters. Throughout the years I have come across a lot of information that just often doesn't match up. Care standards and information are outdated, and these little creatures are misunderstood by many. So I decided to make this website as more than just a hamster lover's website, but a hamster website for modern owners who are looking for up to date advice on how to care for and understand their beloved hamsters. On DH you can learn about hamsters, see some cute pictures and read through a hamster filled blog.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Dioxins in Carefresh a Valid Concern?

Recently I came across someone talking about Carefresh and similar pulp-based products (Boxo, Clean and Cozy, etc) being dangerous due to high levels of dioxins within the substrate from where they are made. The exact phrase being that Carefresh is "repackaged sludge from the sewer stream of pulp mills". This phrase is inaccurate as this is not quite what wood pulp is. These beddings are made form wood pulp, which is the product of the tree that cannot be used to make paper products. It was often put into landfills and other let to go to waste before. It is not "sludge from the sewer", it is taken before that point is reached. It is also not recycled paper and contains no ink.

The main concern brought up was that during this process dioxins (Wiki: Dioxins) were put into the wood pulp. Thus our small animals would be exposed to these deadly compounds.

This concern is not a new one it seems, searching for more information many forums came up with similar posts about "sewer sludge" though all from different times, the oldest one I found dating back to 2003. Finally I found a page that was put up by a pine mill company that promoted pine over wood pulp based substrates. (Please see: Toxicity of Pine and Cedar Shavings). This page seems to be the source of this rumour. Yet the question still needed to be considered: Are wood-pulp based substrates really safe?

Looking at the Carefresh Website they say that "Carefresh is non-toxic, sanitised and it has been tested for dioxins. As a result Carefresh is guaranteed to be clean, safe and natural."

Humans come in contact with dioxins on a daily basis, mostly through the food that we eat. It is safe to presume that living such a close lifestyle to humans, that domestic animals, such as hamsters, would also be exposed to low levels of dioxins. Dioxin emissions have gone down a lot in more recent years and should continue to do so, meanwhile the long-living dioxins that are here already will eventually reach the end of their lifespan. It would seem that the scare of dioxins in pulp-based substrates is something that was twisted and stretched in order to promote another companies product (i.e. pine shavings). If dioxins levels in these substrates were at a level to cause issues than it would seem imperative, (if not for the animal's sake but for the human's sake), that a company would find a different way to work with this product. Based on all that I have read along with the questionable source of this dioxin-in-Carefresh information that this is not something to worry about. It seems surprising that if dioxins are an issue that it has not been found to cause issues in animals at some point. Carefresh is used in some labs after all, it would make sense that they would want a substrate that would not put their study in jeopardy.