Contaminants in breastmilk!!

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Contaminants in breastmilk!!
15
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 10:58am
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action levels for poisonous or deleterious substances in food and could not be sold.”>>>


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product of DDT) still remains the most widespread contaminant in human milk around the world, and PCBs remain the most prevalent contaminant in the milk of mothers living in industrialized countries. In addition to DDT and PCBs, common contaminants of breast milk include flame retardants, fungicides, wood preservatives, termite poisons, mothproofing agents, toilet deodorizers, cable-insulating materials, dry-cleaning fluids, gasoline vapors, and the chemical by-products of garbage incineration.............

My office shelves contain stacks and stacks of published reports documenting the presence of environmental chemicals in human milk. All together they would fill a couple of large suitcases. But seldom do nursing mothers hear about them. Not only are our breastfed children omitted from popular depictions of the human food chain, but we ourselves are excluded from discussions of breast-milk contamination. Some researchers, public health

officials, and lactation advocates argue in their defense that publicizing the problem would only serve to frighten women away from breastfeeding. But keeping secrets is seldom a good public health strategy, for how will we solve a problem whose existence we don’t acknowledge?>>>



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relative effects of prenatal exposures and breast-milk exposures. Such investigations are rare—but there are some, as we shall see.>>>

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is a measure of dioxin toxicity.)>>>


A call for more formula?? Or a call for a cleaner environment??


christine





~christine~

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 6:29pm
BTW did anyone read this far:

"I also believe these kinds of risk/benefit analyses are an unhelpful approach to the problem of chemical contaminants in breast milk. They offer no solutions. The usual recommendation that follows from them-"Just keep nursing because the benefits outweigh the risks"-means that we nursing mothers should take no action until our milk becomes so contaminated as to pose as many risks as formula. In other words, until breast milk, like formula, kills 4,000 U.S. infants a year. (This figure is the experts' best estimate of the annual number of infant deaths-from infectious diseases and other causes-attributable to lack of breastfeeding.) Risk/benefit analyses imply that as long as one danger (breastfeeding) is less than another (failure to breastfeed), we should accept the lesser danger-even though it still necessitates endangering our children."

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 6:46pm
Or this?:

"Also, even though formula is less contaminated with POPs, it tends to be more contaminated with lead. (Remember that heavy metals bind to milk proteins, not to fat.) Moreover, even though the formula itself may be free of organic chemical contaminants, the water in which it is mixed may not be. In many areas of the Midwest, bottle-fed infants are exposed to high doses of weed killers and nitrate fertilizers when powdered formula is mixed with tap water. Conventional water treatment plants cannot filter these contaminants out. The breast can."

"Consider also the container. Human skin is made of nontoxic materials. By contrast, plastic baby bottles, particularly those constructed of polycarbonate, have been shown to leach hormone-disrupting plasticizers into the liquid they hold. Thus, in real-life situations, bottle-feeding is not as contaminant-free an operation as the ingredients in the box would imply. "

"Consider, too, the case of Janet Dike, a kindergarten teacher in Orange County, Florida. Dike was a new mother who wished to continue breastfeeding her son after her maternity leave ended. Her principal, however, forbade her from leaving school grounds during her lunch period and also refused to allow her husband to bring the child onto the premises. When her baby began suffering distress during bottle feedings and developed an allergy to formula, she was forced to take an unpaid leave for the rest of the year. She then sued the school board, claiming that breastfeeding is a fundamental right, entitled to constitutional protection under the Ninth and Fourteenth amendments, which govern the right to privacy. The district court disagreed, but the appellate court thought otherwise. In the end, Dike received back pay and reinstatement to her job. The appellate court's decision included the following statement: "Breastfeeding is the most elemental form of parental care. It is communion between mother and child that, like marriage, is `intimate to the degree of being sacred....' We conclude that the constitution protects from excessive state interference a woman's decision respecting breastfeeding her child." "

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 7:23pm
I see this as a call for a cleaner environment.

I went to a seminar at a LLL conference last spring (April '02) about Breastfeeding & Environmental Contaminants. It was VERY interesting. I'm going to try to decifer my notes (haven't really looked at them recently) and pull some of the research/resources the speaker gave us on this subject.

The speaker told us to take a look at this website regarding the subject: http://www.nrdc.org/breastmilk/default.asp It has great information regarding environmental pollutants in breastmilk - and why bm is STILL preferable over formula, dispite those contaminants. Even though formula may *seem* safer, there are environmental contaminants & hazards in formula as well (most often from the water used to mix it, but also from contamination during the manufacturing process and in the animal milk/other ingredients of formula). They also point out that the manufacturing process to make infant formula contributes to the pollution problem and the environmental contaminants that get into breastmilk.

The speaker also talked about how hard it is to get a good, acurate study of the actual levels of these environmental pollutants in breastmilk. The first problem is that there is no way to get a control group of lacting women who have NOT been eposed to such contamination - so they can't get a base of what bm levels should be. Also, there is no standard definition of what bf'ing is....is it bf'ing only for 6 mo & no supplements? BF'ing partially w/ some supplements, etc. There is also a difference in a mother's exposure to such contaminants based on where she lives - the levels vary from one region to another. There are very few studies on this subject & most of the studies that have been done have a bias of only being done on mothers who have had high exposures to these pollutants.

Another thing to keep in mind is that these environmental contaminants effect baby MORE before baby is even born. Those contaminants pass very easily accross the placenta & into baby.

She also cited a study by Walter Rogan, MD, MPH (he is a researcher on contamination in bm with The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences). I can't find the actual study anywhere right now, but she said that he studied 900 nursing mother/baby pairs and followed the children for 17 years to see if there was any negative impact from the environmental contamination in bm. All 900 of the children are healthy with no problems associated with contaminants in bm.

Oh gosh...I'm sorry this got so long. My point is, that what really needs to happen is a focus on cleaning up our environment (and formula manufacturers contribute to the pollution in our environment) - and NOT to discourage or frighten parents away from bf'ing because of environmental contaminants that may be found in breastmilk. Even with those contaminants, bf'ing is still better - and often the benefits of the bm cancel out the negative effects from those environmental contaminants.

Michelle

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 7:25pm
The last paragraph could be a whole new discussion;)

"Consider, too, the case of Janet Dike, a kindergarten teacher in Orange County, Florida. Dike was a new mother who wished to continue breastfeeding her son after her maternity leave ended. Her principal, however, forbade her from leaving school grounds during her lunch period and also refused to allow her husband to bring the child onto the premises. When her baby began suffering distress during bottle feedings and developed an allergy to formula, she was forced to take an unpaid leave for the rest of the year. She then sued the school board, claiming that breastfeeding is a fundamental right, entitled to constitutional protection under the Ninth and Fourteenth amendments, which govern the right to privacy. The district court disagreed, but the appellate court thought otherwise. In the end, Dike received back pay and reinstatement to her job. The appellate court's decision included the following statement: "Breastfeeding is the most elemental form of parental care. It is communion between mother and child that, like marriage, is `intimate to the degree of being sacred....' We conclude that the constitution protects from excessive state interference a woman's decision respecting breastfeeding her child."

I personally think it's pretty sad that this teacher had to take a leave of absence just to feed her baby. She was apparently willing to compromise & her supervisor wasn;t going to meet her even half way. After reinstating the teacher, the principal should have been fired.

Janet & nursling Sierra



iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 7:33pm
i particularily liked this link:

http://www.nrdc.org/breastmilk/formula.asp

and this one is better still! ;-)

http://www.littlekoala.com/breastmilk.html

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