March 2nd, 2009 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • Breast is BestResources

The Facts about Environmental Contaminants in Breastmilk

Another fantastic post from Tanya at The Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog: Worried about environmental contaminants in breastmilk? Get the facts.  I especially like the comment from "SusanB" who is quoting Sandra Steingraber, "Contaminants are in breastmilk, but that doesn't mean stop nursing, it means stop polluting. That is the only real workable solution."  Steingraber, S. (2001). Having Faith: an Ecologist's Journey to Motherhood. New York: Perseus Publishing.

I'm always taken aback by people/corporations/doctors/governments that focus on the end-result of an issue instead of what caused it in the first place.  I will liken it to the medical practice of treating symptoms instead of finding out what is causing said symptoms and addressing that.  Take, for example, a person that suffers from chronic headaches.  Don't just give him/her a pain killer, rather FIND OUT why he/she is getting the headaches in the first place!  It could be a sensitivity to something they are eating or something in their environment, eyestrain, stress, dehydration, the possibilities are endless!  And yet, people seem to be OK settling for the "quick fix" - usually drugs.  It is nothing but a bandaid.  Maybe they don't know that they have other choices?Evil Formula Company - boo hiss!

So the formula companies and other 'questionable parties' spearhead these studies about toxins in breastmilk while conveniently skirting around the fact that there are toxins in pretty much everything on earth INCLUDING FORMULA.  Unfortunately, it is an example of the classic scare tactic that is so commonplace in American culture today - another desperate attempt to market their product to the masses.  Their message?  "Don't breastfeed!  You will poison your baby!  Feed your baby formula!  Formula is safe!"

Sidebar:  Did you know that if you Google "help with breastfeeding" or "breastfeeding problems" the top (sponsored) search results are links to formula companies' websites? grrr....

I believe that the information that should instead be shared as a result of these studies and many others is, "The earth is polluted, so much so, that there are toxins in everything from soup to nuts including breastmilk AND formula.  What are we going to do to stop the pollution?"

Tell me what you think.

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Sara Gallinger says:

There was a couple in our prenatal class asking this exact thing. The guy had heard breastmilk was contaminated but failed to understand the baby was already being exposed to all the same contaminants present in the mother's body while in utero. If the contaminants are environmental then anything living in that environment, including the cows or soybeans used to make formula, have those toxins too.

Posted on March 3, 2009

Wendy Armbruster Bell says:

EX-ACTLY Sara! Very well said and thanks for reading!

Posted on March 3, 2009