Monday, July 23, 2007

chemicals in milk

This morning's session was entitled "Environmental Chemicals in Breastmilk." I learned a few things about which chemicals have declining amounts in milk (DDT, for example) and which do not: PBDEs, the flame retardants that are still in use today. The most useful part for me, though, will be the statments from various epidemiological studies that the speaker had in her slides about the levels of chemicals vs the other benefits of breastmilk. One statement came from a document on the WHO site entitled Fourth WHO-Coordinated Survey of Human Milk for Persistent Organic Pollutants in Cooperation with UNEP. The statement is as follows (I included their recommendation as well):

WHO can now say with full confidence that breastfeeding reduces child mortality and has health benefits that extend into adulthood. On a population basis, exclusive breastfeeding for six months is the recommended feeding mode for the vast majority of infants, followed by continued breastfeeding with appropriate complementary foods for up to two years or beyond.

Even though there are environmental chemicals in milk, studies still find benefits of breastmilk to infants and mothers. (Although, there is that "benefits" language again. We won't talk about that again.)

I'm off to try to get Stefan to nap (maybe?) and then to my last session, the CE lunch with Peter Hartmann about the anatomy of the nursing breast. I think I'll have a chance for one last post after that, before we head off to the airport.

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