Letter: Breast can be best

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The Independent Online
MOTHERS WORRIED about contaminants in their breast milk ("More than 350 pollutants found in breast milk", 11 July) can do something very positive about it: stop eating meat and preferably dairy products too.

As far back as 1981 it was known that the milk of vegetarian mothers carried fewer pollutants - particularly pesticide residues, arsenic, lead and other undesirables found in meat and dairy products. US researchers (New England Journal of Medicine) listed toxic chemicals found in breast milk, and it was extremely disturbing. But they also discovered that the breast milk of vegetarian mothers was only one to two per cent as polluted as that of the general population.

Your Sunday roast contains 14 times as many residues as the potatoes and parsnips which surround it, according to the British Medical Association. The reason is the extraordinary amount of vegetation that animals consume - up to 16 kilos of vegetable protein to produce one kilo of meat protein. There are now so many animals needing to be fed that virtually all agriculture has intensified to meet their demands.

More than a million gallons of pesticide are sprayed on the land every year, together with petroleum-based fertilisers and a cocktail of other chemicals and poisons. The legacy of this is bequeathed to our babies through what should be the most wholesome food of all.


Viva! (Vegetarians International Voice for Animals)

Brighton, East Sussex