Man’s best friend may also be man’s best bet for figuring out how environmental chemicals could impact our health. Researchers from North Carolina State University and Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment used silicone dog tags as passive environmental samplers to collect information about everyday chemical exposures, and found that dogs could be an important sentinel species for the long term effects of environmental chemicals.
“Silicone monitoring devices are still relatively new, but they represent an inexpensive and effective way to measure exposure to the chemicals we encounter in daily life – from pesticides to flame retardants,” says Catherine Wise, Ph.D. candidate at NC State and lead author of a paper describing the work. “And we know that many human diseases caused by environmental exposure are similar clinically and biologically to those found in dogs.”
Wise and researchers from NC State and Duke recruited 30 dogs and their owners to wear silicone monitors for a five-day period in July 2018. Humans wore wristbands, while the dogs wore tags on their collars.