AWF News

Tuesday, January 5th, 2021

Pet Bedding Testing Review Conducted By The Michigan State University Diagnostic Center For Population And Animal Health

Review indicates presence of dioxin in small pet paper bedding produced from reclaimed pulp fibers

Experts say that exposure to dioxins should be avoided whenever possible

Columbia, MD, October 16, 2012 – One year after releasing test results indicating the presence of dioxins in small pet paper bedding products made with reclaimed pulp, or “sludge,” American Wood Fibers (AWF) today announced that a recently completed Michigan State University (MSU) review of the results indicates that these findings appear reasonable.

“Based on the findings of this limited initial study, it is important to note that pet beddings made with reclaimed pulp fibers are more likely to contain detectable levels of dioxin than wood shavings or byproduct papers,” wrote John P. Buchweitz, Ph.D., clinical toxicologist, and Andreas F. Lehner, Ph.D., analytical chemist, both from the Michigan State University Diagnostic Center For Population and Animal Health (DCPAH). The review notes that “Dioxin and dioxin-like compounds are considered to be ubiquitous, particularly in more industrialized nations” and notes that DCPAH did not perform the testing on these products, therefore care should be taken in interpreting the results. Buchweitz and Lehner also state “there is an inherent health benefit to minimizing cumulative dioxin exposures and such exposures should be avoided whenever practical.”

Reclaimed pulp beddings are made with fibers that are collected from pulp mill sewage systems. Though the paper industry has made efforts to rid their waste streams of the most troubling compounds, tests conducted by independent laboratories – and supported by the DCPAH review – showed detectable amounts of Dioxin in samples of the reclaimed pulp paper beddings tested. These types of bedding products are produced by some of the leading manufacturers in the industry and widely used by consumers.

Drs. Buchweitz and Lehner conducted the review of previous testing of numerous small animal bedding products currently on the market. The tests were performed using EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) Method 1613B, which “…is the EPA method of choice for Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) compliance testing and to meet the effluent monitoring requirements of the Pulp and Paper Industry,” states the review.

“The DCPAH review is another step in our ongoing efforts to understand and educate ourselves and others regarding the impact of source materials on the quality of pet beddings, and promote the importance of all-natural, safe bedding products,” said Edwin S. Leland, AWF president and CEO. “We’re using this information to guide us in the manufacturing of our branded and private-label beddings, all of which are ‘sludge free.’”

Buchweitz and Lehner also say, “We commend your company (AWF) for being proactive in limiting animal exposure to toxic polychlorinated debenzo-p-dioxins and –furans and feel certain that your ongoing monitoring program provides long term benefit to animal health.”

American Wood Fibers was founded in 1966 and is a leader in the specialty forestry products field. The company’s family of animal bedding brands includes Premier Pet™, Pets Pick™ and America’s Choice®. AWF also contract manufactures for a large group of well-known private label partners. In addition to the AWF small pet bedding division, the company offers large animal bedding, industrial wood flour, and premium wood pellet products. Headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, AWF has ten manufacturing sites across the continental U.S.

Download MSU Report