Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Mapping a Course for PFCs: Transfer between Mothers' Milk and Serum

Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Mapping a Course for PFCs: Transfer between Mothers' Milk and Serum

Article excerpt

Studies have found assorted perfluorinated compounds (PFCs)--the persistent chemicals in such products as nonstick coatings--in samples of human blood and milk, but what isn't clear is how efficiently the chemicals transfer between these two media. To address this gap, researchers in Sweden compared PFC levels in blood serum and milk samples to better understand the lactational transfer of these compounds [EHP 115:226-230; Karrman et al.].

Previous animal and human studies have shown that mothers can pass certain PFCs to fetuses and infants. That these compounds can find their ways into humans at the earliest stages is cause for concern because the PFCs perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which have infiltrated ecosystems from Asia to Antarctica, have been linked in laboratory animals to effects that include liver and testicular cancer, developmental defects, immune disruption, neuroendocrine effects, and birth defects.

The team collected milk and blood samples from 12 women at three weeks postpartum. The team also compared PFC levels from this relatively small sample to levels in human milk samples collected from 1996 through 2004 from groups of 25 to 90 women per year. …

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