Breast Milk Can Harbor Environmental Contaminants

It is a source of concern, not a cause for high alarm in mothers generally

Breast milk harbors environmental pollutants
Stephanie M. Lee, San Francisco Chronicle health reporter, focusing on environmental/public health.

Breast milk’s high fat and protein content tends to attract heavy metals and other contaminants that make their way into a woman’s body from the environment, and are then passed on to newborns, albeit usually in minuscule amounts. The study examined the milk of mothers who live in a community near the state line of West Virginia and Ohio, where a DuPont plant had contaminated the drinking water with perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, a chemical used in processing plastics. Chemicals found in infants. The detection of the chemical in the community’s drinking water led DuPont to settle a class-action lawsuit for $107 million in 2005 and put the residents in a unique position for scientific study. The scientists found no immediate signs of harm in the children, and noted that since the source of contamination has ended, the children are unlikely to suffer long-term health effects. […] pediatricians agree that breast milk’s nutritional, immune-boosting combination of fats, carbohydrates and proteins far outweighs the dangers of its environmental pollutants. Formula has been recalled for containing broken glass, metal fragments and bacteria, and common contaminants in water, another option for some mothers, include weed killers, insecticides and chlorine byproducts. ”

Read Breast milk harbors environmental pollutants
by Stephanie M. Lee, 29 Dec 2013

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