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For the record
Response to "Breastfed children have higher level of toxic chemicals"
Articles in the Daily Mail, The Times and Huffington Post on Friday 21st August reported on a study that found perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) are transferred between mothers and infants during breastfeeding. However, we can’t tell from this study if infants in countries with Western diets are at risk because the population that the study looked at has a diet that is particularly high in PFCs and the actual levels of PFCs in breast milk weren’t given.
Prof Richard Sharpe, Group Leader on Male Reproductive Health, University of Edinburgh
“The disappointing thing about the reporting and the paper itself is that there is no mention that the study group are likely to be a 'worst-case’. The study population are from the Faroe Islands where pilot whales form an important part of the diet– which the study authors themselves previously found to be a rich source of PFCs. So the actual amounts of PFCs that might be transferred from mother to infant may not be directly translatable to other populations. However, the principle of the study, namely that chemicals present in breast milk will be transferred to the breastfeeding infant, is well established.
“The most disappointing thing about the study itself is there is no mention of the actual level of PFCs in breastmilk of the mothers that would allow comparison with a more typical Western population.”
Document type: For The Record
Published: 24 August 2015