Worried about toxins in your breastmilk? Get the facts.

Community Leader
Registered: 10-01-2010
Worried about toxins in your breastmilk? Get the facts.
Thu, 09-27-2012 - 5:55pm

Worried about toxins in your breastmilk? Get the facts.

Before anyone concludes that breastmilk is unsafe – and research shows that this information can indeed scare women into not breastfeeding – let’s review some facts:

1) Levels of some chemicals in breastmilk have been going DOWN in recent years.  Yes, there are chemicals present in breastmilk, and levels of some of them are increasing at a worrying rate.  But as Dr. Kathleen Arcaro, an environmental toxicologist at the University of Massachusetts who studies pollutants in breastmilk as well as breast cancer, explained to me in an interview, “the good news is that the concentration of some lipophilic (fat-loving) environmental pollutants in breast milk is decreasing.  For instance the level of many pesticides (DDT and its metabolites) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) has greatly decreased over the last 30 years.”

2) There are toxins in formula, too, sometimes in higher amounts.  You have to feed your baby something.  So are your choices breastmilk which reflects our environmental exposures, or a perfect, chemical-free food?  No!

Dr. Arcaro notes that “pollutants are widely distributed [i.e. in the air, in water] and therefore are in cow’s milk and formula.”  Or put more colorfully by Dr. Jack Newman, “There are toxins in formula. Why would everything on earth be polluted, even the far reaches of the Arctic, but not formula?”

A 2009 CDC study of ten different types of formula found found that “perchlorate was a contaminant of all commercially available [formulas] tested.”  The FDA has found BPA and trace amounts of melamine in some formulas, and a study out this month found arsenic in an organic toddler formula.  One chemical, PAH, is found in the highest levels in formula and cow’s milk, and lowest levels in breastmilk.

Read more: http://www.bestforbabes.org/science-you-can-use-worried-about-toxins-in-your-breastmilk-get-the-facts