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Toxins in Breast Milk Francheska G. Michelle G. Bailey S. Christian G.
Table of Contents • • • Common Breast Milk Toxins History Target Demographics Absorption Distribution Action Metabolism Excretion Affects on the Child Affects on the Mother Insights and Further Research Sources
What toxins are found in breast milk? • • Paint Thinners Dry cleaning fluids Wood preservatives Toilet deodorizers • • Cosmetic additives • • • PCBs Fungicides • • perchlorate Termite poisons • • PABA Gasoline byproducts Rocket fuel • • Phenol vinclozolin Flame retardants • polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) Common items as well as not so common items have been found in toxic and trace amounts in breast milk. Because of this range in toxicity and product, it is important to study their effects.
History and Demographics
History of Toxins in Breast Milk 2004: United States Chemical Manufactures said that PBDE will be eliminated over time 1971: Sweden PCB’s banned 1951: Washington First toxin ever discovered 1981: United States PBDE Toxin found in Breast Milk 1966: Sweden Polychlorinated Biphenyls(PCB’s) discovered 1996: United States Concentration of PBDE’s in breast milk found to double every five years since 1981 1976: United States PCB’s banned and found to be most common breast milk toxin even after ban 2009: Sweden Mothers can test their breast milk for possible toxins 2009: adverse affects of breast milk toxins remain the same as they did when they were first discovered in the seventies
Demographics of Population Most Affected Children Babies and young children are more susceptible than adults because of small size and nutrition Babies intake foods high in fat which keeps these chemicals in their bodies because of bioaccumulation through the food chain (plants to animals to humans to the placenta and then to the baby) An increased duration of breastfeeding increases the amount of exposure Mother American women have the highest levels of toxins than anywhere in the world American women in urban areas are exposed to more chemicals Older women have more toxins built up in body Further research can be done in the effect of diet changes during lactation
Absorption Gastrointestinal Tract: Toxic levels of rocket fuel by products have been reported in areas irrigated by the Colorado River. Fungicide vinclozolin, commonly used in vineyards, has ceased to be used as it is now a known endocrine disrupter whose effects could be seen for as long as 4 generations. Intramuscular Thimerosol- Mercury containing vaccine preservative Intravenous Contact with skin Cosmetic additives such as PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid) can increase risk of skin cancer. Inhalation lungs Common air can spur allergic reactions and asthma symptoms.
Distribution Cardiovascular system Lymphatic system Skin Exposure Nerves Gonads Ø 75% absorbed Blood Liver Kidney Adipose Tissue Ø 100% Milk < 1% absorbed Excretion
Action Depends on: Mechanism of action of toxin The dose Smaller body mass of infants requires a smaller dose to elicit toxic effects. Susceptibility Metabolic mechanisms of toxin inactivation are underdeveloped in nursing infants. Excretory mechanisms are underdeveloped. Blood-brain barrier is underdeveloped and not as impermeable.
Metabolism Biotransformation is less effective in young Underdeveloped liver Results in less effective “first pass effect” Underdeveloped lungs, kidneys, intestinal mucosa Mucosal biotransformation rates are decreased in the small intestine of children. Underdeveloped intestinal villous directly correlate to increased production of oxidated reactive metabolites.
Excretion Renal Biliary Sweat Lungs Lactation- It is because of our bodies ability to excrete toxins through lactation that problematic affects exist for both mother and child. Saliva
Affects on the Child
Affects on the Child The babies are at higher risk because of bioaccumulation Intake higher proportions of toxins that have increasingly accumulated up the food chain, and they are smaller in size Children of mothers with high polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) suffer from: -neurological delays -low IQ scores -poor reading comprehension -memory and attention issues -lowered resistance to infection 3 yr old children that were breast fed have levels of PCBs that are 4 times higher than those not breastfed
Affects on the Child The Environmental Protection Agency considers PCBs a probable human carcinogen Exposure to flame retardants, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), leads to: -reduced motor function -tumor formation at high levels -damage to the thyroid leading to decreased brain development This same affects can also be seen with Dioxins and PCBs
Affects on the Child A child exposed to mercury leads to: Lower scores on neurodevelopment tests Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test Wide Range Assessment of Visual Motor Abilities Test
Affects on the Mother
Affects on the Mother q Q: How can toxins in the breast milk harm the mother? q A: Toxin buildup can be carcinogenic, leading to breast cancer formation. q Examples of documented carcinogenic toxins in breast milk. Pesticide DDT found in 2. Polichlorinated biphenyls PCBs 1.
Furthermore, breastfeeding is still the best way to feed an infant. Formula also has toxins. Baby’s do not absorb iron efficiently from formula. The components of breast milk cannot be reproduced.
According to Jack Newman: • Toxins increase cancer-related risks, but breastfed babies have a lower risk of developing some cancers compared to babies fed using formula. • Toxins may impeded upon neurological development and learning capabilities, but breastfed babies do better on tests that assess intelligence. • Toxins may negatively affect immunity, but breastfed babies have better immune systems than babies who are not breastfed.
Take Away Message Ø Breastfeeding counteracts toxins in breast milk, but nonetheless mother’s should limit exposure to toxins, as they may be harmful to self or in excessive amounts to the child.
Insights for Further Research: Since the seventies research has slowed down due to fear from chemical manufacturers and fear of mothers opting not to breast feed. Does the duration of the toxin’s existence in the breast tissue interfere with any metabolic processes of the mother? Can toxins be excreted from breast tissues? If so, how? Aside from the taboo of it all, could induced lactation via suckling serve as an efficient detoxification method?
Avoiding Toxins in Breast Milk 1. Keep breastfeeding, formula has more toxins 2. Decrease ingestion of animal fats and dairy products and increase organic foods 3. Discontinue use of alcohol and cigarettes 4. Do not use pesticides 5. Use only non water based glues, paints, gasoline and nail polishes 6. Do not dry clean clothes 7. Use phthalate free cosmetics 8. Choose glass instead of plastic 9. Do not use cleaning product with harmful chemicals 10. Buy clothes that are natural instead of synthetic fibers 11. Be proactive and aware of toxic chemicals 12. Advocate knowledge about the cause and initiate and support political legislation which bans toxic products and initiates changes in corporation 13. Join MOMS (Making Our Milk Safe) organization whose goal is to eliminate harmful chemicals in products, educate breastfeeding mothers, and create general awareness of toxic chemicals
Sources • Bagnell, P. C. and H. A. Ellenberger. “Obstructive jaundice due to a chlorinated hydrocarbon in breast milk. ” Canadian Medical Association Journal 117 (1977): 1047 -1048. 10 Apr. 2009
Sources Continued • Poisons May Pass Down Generations. 2005. BBC News. Retrieved April 10, 2009 from