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Breast Feeding

Dioxin and breast milk

04/26/2001

Question:

I heard a recent NPR story about the high levels of dioxin that have been found in human breast milk. Have you heard about this? I`m concerned.

Answer:

Dioxin is a colorless organic byproduct of manufacturing, exhaust emissions, incineration, forest fires and volcanoes. Dioxin is stored in adipose tissue (fat). Recent studies by CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) indicate that dioxin levels in Americans have declined from 18 parts per trillion in 1976 to 5 parts per trillion today. In general, higher levels of environmental contamination is found in older women, primiparas (first time mothers) and cigarette smokers. If you wean your child or choose only to feed your child artificial milk (formula) there are risks involved with that choice also. Your infant can receive environmental contamination from the water used in preparation. Most of the literatures state that except for unusual situation breast-feeding is the preferred nutrition for all infants. It also states that more research should be done in the area of infant exposure of environment contaminates for infants in the USA, since are research and information in this area is sparse. If you feel you area has a high level of Dioxin should discuss this with your health care practioner and a local lactation consultant.

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Response by:

Tina   Weitkamp, RNC, MSN Tina Weitkamp, RNC, MSN
Associate Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati