Toxic chemicals breast milk

A new study published in the Environmental Science and Technology journal May 13, 2021, by the School of Public and Environmental Affairs Indiana University, Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington/Seattle Children’s Research Institute, and Toxic-Free Future concluded that 100% of the 50 women’s breast milk sample tested were contaminated with Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) otherwise known as “Forever chemicals” with levels nearly 2,000 times higher than the level The Environmental Working Group (EWG) advise is safe for drinking water!

The study’s authors are now sounding the alarm expressing that the results, “are cause for concern” and exposes the potential threat to newborns’ health. “The study shows that PFAS contamination of breast milk is likely universal in the U.S. and that these harmful chemicals are contaminating what should be nature’s perfect food,” Erika Schreder, a co-author and science director with Toxic Free Future exclaimed. 

PFAS are a class of approximately 9,000 compounds that are used to make products like food packaging and clothing water and stain resistant. “They are called ʻforever chemicals’ because they do not naturally break down and have been found to accumulate in humans. They are linked to cancer, birth defects, liver disease, thyroid disease, plummeting sperm counts and a range of other serious health problems.” (Tom Perkins – the Guardian)

There are currently no standards for PFAS in breast milk and very little analysis of how PFAS affects newborns although studies of older children and adults have linked the chemicals to hormonal disruptions and potential harm to the immune system. This, Sheela Sathyanarayana, co-author of the study and pediatrician with the University of Washington states, “could be especially problematic for infants because breast milk bolsters their immune system.”

The study also analyzed breast milk data from around the world and found PFAS detection frequency is increasing.

So what can we do? It is suggested that pregnant women and mothers protect their breastfed babies by avoiding greaseproof carryout food packaging, stain guards like ScotchGard, reduce packaged foods, and the use of cooking products with Teflon or similar non-stick properties.

Image Credit: SHAKA Movement

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