High dioxin levels found in breast-fed babies
Thursday 15 May 1997
in breast-fed babies
Young babies who are breast-fed may have as much as 17 times the tolerable level of gender-altering chemicals in their body, a new review has found.
A survey by the independent Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products in the Environment [COT] found that the average levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dioxins for two month-old breast- fed babies is estimated to be 170 picogrammes/kg body weight when recommended tolerable intake is 10pg/kg bw. However, Sir Kenneth Calman, the Chief Medical Officer, urged mothers not to be deterred. "Infants who are being breast-fed may exceed the tolerable level set by COT for the short periods of breast-feeding, but would have a negligible impact over a lifetime. The proven advantages of breast-feeding far outweigh any small theoretical risk ... On the basis of this information there is no reason to stop breastfeeding; indeed if you stop breast-feeding it is very difficult to start again." Glenda Cooper
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