As I keep discovering more VOC Styrene (vinyl benzene) sources, it occured to me that it's not just the human items, but the dogs as well.
From touching Yuki the German Shorthair Poiner puppy's brand new synthetic rubber collar my nerves in my hands and elbows started to tingle, like you hit your funny bone with periods of sharp pain in my palms. Synthetic rubber emits the VOC vapor benzene and I had it wrapped around my dog’s necks.
After cuddling with the puppy with his brand new collar on I suddently got a sore throat, runny nose, itchy eyes, cough, tight chest and was nauseous. I had to run outside and gather my head to fight the urge to throw up.
I wonder if that’s the reason Yuki gets car sick? The styrene VOCs build up in the car and he’s got the source right around his neck. He was also wearing a seat belt harness made for dogs that has a plastic based netting material. When I held it in my hands they swelled up with nerve pain in my fingers and palm. My hand became stiff and hard to open and close freely. I am allergic to styrene (benzene), which it turns out is in both the fake rubber of his collar and the fabric of the dog's seat belt. Styrene goes by many different names: vinylbenzene, benzol, coal tar naphtha, cyclohexatriene, ethenylbenzene, ethenyl benzene, phenylethylene, phenyl hydride, styrene monomer, styrolene, styrol, styropol, cinnamene and Diarex HF 77.
The collar felt like it had a powdery coating on it. My hand didn’t start feeling better until I took a shower. And that’s about how long it took to start feeling the benzene gases exiting my body through my arms. Extremely itchy. I washed everything that I thought might have come into contact with the dog collars including the dog's necks.
I found one of Bruno’s old collars from our old dog supply bin. It still had Bruno’s ID with our address on it. It will do for now. Poor Yuki, I bought you a lot of chemical laced dog products for Christmas. I had no idea.
Yuki’s collar was brand new, I believe making it more intense. My hands had been hurting and swollen non-stop for a months so my tolerance was very low. I had not known to avoid benzene. My hands, particulaly my left hand, had been swollen with severe nerve pain for 3 months. I had seen 3 different hand to shoulder specialist and one family doctor trying to figure out the cause.
It makes me wonder if that is why Spenser has been achy? I know it makes my body achy.
My right foot was throbbing. I have pains in my feet a lot. I never knew why. I always assumed I had plantar fasciitis. Then I realized my foot was shoved under the dog bed. The dog bed is made of synthetic memory foam which emits the benzene VOC. The dogs all need new beds. Their synthetic beds bring on all of my symptoms so they cannot be good for the dogs. Synthetic memory foam gives me one of the worst reactions.
That night I heard the puppy crying inside his x-pen. I got out of bed to go and let him outside to pee. Inside the pen Yuki had kicked the dog bed to the side and he was squished in the corner on the floor. He didn’t want the bed. I now understood what was bothering him. He watched me toss his polyester bed outside. It hurt my hands to touch it.
When I put two 100% cotton towels down he flopped down on them dramatically and went to sleep. It has always been a struggle to get him to settle down. Poor Yuki was sencing the VOCs.
This meant that Mia and Spencer's beds had to go too. When I picked Mia’s dog bed up I realized how bad it was. It burned my face, eyes, nose, down my throat and up my sinuses. I gagged and almost threw up. I was nauseous. I put Spencer’s bed outside as well. They will have to sleep on towels until I get them something safer.
The towels had tags on them and I had to cut them off before I gave them to the dogs. The majority of tags on fabrics including blankets and clothing are often made from rayon or other synthetic petroleum, chemically based materials and are right up there with the fake memory foam in severity.
I needed to get all of the tag out. I find that even a little bit of the tag that is left emits the VOCs into the fabric.
Mia used to be restless at night, pacing around and I would tell her to go to bed. She would never be eager to do so but she would listen. I would often find her on the hard floor. Mia now seems happy to settle down and get some sleep, just like Yukon.
Spencer seemed pleased to be on towels in front of the fireplace.
From dealing with all of the dog beds that night my eyes felt all dried out, lips chapped and my hands felt like sandpaper.
I used to think I was just prone to my hands getting chapped and I needed a really good hand lotion. But it was an allergic reaction to the VOC benzene. I now try to avoid touching anything with the gases emitting. Now when I do intentionally touch handle it, I get these rashes. They are sandpaper rough. This particular time it was from removing the tags from my clothing, blankets and towels. The extreme chapped skin was accompanied by nerve pain and shocks.
The next night... Yuki the puppy was missing. I looked all downstairs and outside. I finally found him curled up in the upstairs bathroom.
Yuki didn’t want to sleep on the linoleum floor. He decided there was a better option.
The prior nights I kept waking up to what sounded like a yip of discomfort. I would listen for more until I would fall asleep and it would happen at some point again. Eventually he would cry a constant stream of cries and I would run down and take him out to pee. It had seemed like normal puppy training. A small bladder not being able to hold it. Little did I know at the time, that was not it at all.
Before I headed off to bed for the night I carried Yuki from his cozy spot in the bathroom out to the yard for one last pee before he settled in for the night. When we came back inside I called him to me and he hid around to the side of the couch. I picked him up. He thought he was heading to the kitchen. But to his pleasant surprise, I carried him back to the bathroom.
Before I closed the bathroom door, I noticed I had to remove the tags on the towels that were hanging up so the VOC gasses did not build up on him.
In the past Yuki had always whined and cried when I put him to bed in the kitchen inside the x-pen with his fluffy polyester dog bed. I thought it was separation anxiety. He is Sara’s new puppy and we are puppy sitting him for 10 days while she is in Europe. She comes home tomorrow.
That night in the upstairs bathroom Yuki didn’t wake up once.
When I touched the synthetic rubber on these dog leashes my finger tips hurt and the nerves in my arms tingled. I cut the rubber label off with a razer blade.
I had given Yuki a purple reflective leash with a synthetic lined inner handle. When I walked him out to pee with it my hand throbbed. Synthetic foam always proves to be very bad. I went to the dog bin and found him a leash without the foam. I also gathered their fake rubber balls. Sorry pups. I will need to find you some natural, safe toys.
Everyone who knows Spencer knows him as the lazy dog who prefers to sleep in the grass whenever possible rather then follow a human around. The day after I took away his synthetic memory foam dog beds and toys at both home and work he seemed to have more energy. When Yuki and I walked out to the barn Spencer tagged along wagging his tail.
This section is dedicated to Bruno the Boxer who died from cancer. He had mast cell tumors that spread to his stomach. We had to put him down to prevent him from starving to death.
Sharon Maguire - Updated Updated 1-8-20