Environmental Chemicals in Breast Milk

J. S. LaKind, C. M. Berlin, S. E. Fenton

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Although most of the information available on environmental chemicals in breast milk is focused on persistent, lipophilic chemicals, the database on levels of environmental chemicals in breast milk has expanded substantially since the 1950s in terms of types of chemicals measured and the number of countries for which data are available. Several emerging chemicals of interest are now receiving more attention. Many factors appear to influence the levels of environmental chemicals in breast milk, but further research is needed. Current analytic techniques allow measurement of extremely small amounts of many compounds in breast milk, and it is unlikely that any breast milk sample collected from women in both the industrialized and nonindustrialized world will be free of environmental chemicals. However, studies to date examining numerous health end points have consistently concluded that breast-feeding is recommended despite the presence of environmental chemicals in breast milk. The World Health Organization has noted that “evidence for the health advantages of breastfeeding and scientific evidence to support breastfeeding has continued to increase …” and “breastfeeding reduces child mortality and has health benefits that extend into adulthood.”

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Environmental Health, Volume 1-5
ISBN (Electronic)9780444522733
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Environmental Science

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