Breastfeeding has been a huge topic lately. Many women have been speaking out loudly for their right to breastfeed in public, even sharing photos on the Internet. Others argue that it should be done in private. Breastfeeding is such a hot issue, but a new study could change the direction of the discussion.
Research published in Environmental Science & Technology shows that the longer a baby is breastfed, the greater the baby's exposure to a class of industrial chemicals called perfluorinated alkylate substances (PFASs).
PFAS are found in common items like clothing and food packaging. They make them resistant to grease, water and stains, but PFAS have been linked to cancer as well as problems with some of the bodies major systems: immune, reproductive and endocrine.
The study involved 81 babies born between 1997 and 2000. Breastfed babies had high concentrations of PFAS, according to blood samples taken over time. Each month of breastfeeding, the levels rose 20 to 30 percent. PFAS levels went down when mothers stopped breastfeeding.
One important thing to note is that PFASs are found in a mother's breast milk naturally already.
The author of the study, Philippe Grandjean said, "We are concerned that these pollutants are transferred to the next generation at a very vulnerable age. The current US legislation does not require any testing of chemical substances like PFASs for their transfer to babies and any related adverse effects."