Infant Exposure to Chemicals in Breast Milk in the United States: What We Need to Learn from a Breast Milk Monitoring Program

By LaKind, Judy S.; Berlin, Cheston M. et al. | Environmental Health Perspectives, January 2001 | Go to article overview

Infant Exposure to Chemicals in Breast Milk in the United States: What We Need to Learn from a Breast Milk Monitoring Program


LaKind, Judy S., Berlin, Cheston M., Naiman, Daniel Q., Environmental Health Perspectives


The presence of environmental chemicals in breast milk has gained increased attention from regulatory agencies and groups advocating women's and children's health. As the published literature on chemicals in breast milk has grown, there remains a paucity of data on parameters related to infant exposure via breast-feeding, particularly those with a time-dependent nature. This information is necessary for performing exposure assessments without heavy reliance on default assumptions. Although most experts agree that, except in unusual situations, breast-feeding is the preferred nutrition, a better understanding of an infant's level of exposure to environmental chemicals is essential, particularly in the United States where information is sparse. In this paper, we review extant data on two parameters needed to conduct realistic exposure assessments for breast-fed infants: a) levels of chemicals in human milk in the United States (and trends for dioxins/furans); and b) elimination kinetics (depuration) of chemicals from the mother during breast-feeding. The limitations of the existing data restrict our ability to predict infant body burdens of these chemicals from breast-feeding. Although the data indicate a decrease in breast milk dioxin toxic equivalents over time for several countries, the results for the United States are ambiguous. Whereas available information supports the inclusion of depuration when estimating exposures from breast-feeding, the data do not support selection of a specific rate of depuration. A program of breast milk monitoring would serve to provide the information needed to assess infant exposures during breast-feeding and develop scientifically sound information on benefits and risks of breast-feeding in the United States. Key words: breast milk, chlorinated organic chemicals, depuration, dioxin, monitoring program, time trends. Environ Health Perspect 109:75-88 (2001). [Online 20 December 2000]

http://ehpnet1.niehs.nih.gov/docs/2001/109p75-88lakind/abstract.html

It has been known since the 1950s that environmental chemicals are present in breast milk (1), but this issue has gained attention over the past few years. For example, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) noted that indicators of potentially high childhood chemical exposure include chemicals in breast milk and proposed chemicals in breast milk as candidates for testing under the Children's Health Chemical Testing Program (2,3). In an address to the National Women's Health Leadership Summit, the U.S. EPA (4) announced that they had

   set tougher new standards for burning municipal waste--one of the largest
   sources of dioxin, which accumulates in human tissue and breast milk....

Further, the Endocrine Disruptor Screening and Testing Advisory Committee recommended that the U.S. EPA screen and potentially test "representative mixtures to which large ... segments of the population are exposed," including breast milk (5). Groups advocating for women's and children's health have also focused on chemicals in breast milk (6,7).

Although research has provided information on the types of chemicals likely to be found in breast milk and on the toxicologic aspects of many of these chemicals, there are few data on parameters related to infant exposure via breast-feeding, including those with a time-dependent nature. This type of information is necessary for performing exposure assessments without heavy reliance on default assumptions or on the limited databases currently available. In addition, data collected longitudinally provide information on trends in breast milk chemical levels, which indicate whether controls on sources of contaminants are effective. Without this type of information, it will continue to be difficult to provide a scientifically based and consistent message to interested parties (e.g., doctors, nurses, lactation specialists, and new mothers) on the risks and benefits of breast-feeding and to compare these to formula-feeding. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Infant Exposure to Chemicals in Breast Milk in the United States: What We Need to Learn from a Breast Milk Monitoring Program
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.