Benefits of breastfeeding outweigh risk of infant exposure to environmental chemicals in breastmilk

December 16, 2008

New Rochelle, NY, December 16, 2008--A study comparing breastfed and formula fed infants across time showed that the known beneficial effects of breastfeeding are greater than the potential risks associated with infant exposure to chemicals such as dioxins that may be present in breastmilk, according to a report published in the December issue (Volume 3, Number 4) of Breastfeeding Medicine, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. (www.liebertpub.com) and the official journal of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine. The paper is available free online at www.liebertpub.com/bfm

This compelling study, entitled "The Heart of the Matter on Breastmilk and Environmental Chemicals: Essential Points for Health Care Providers and New Parents," encompassed an historical review of the medical literature and included time periods when levels of environmental chemicals were higher than they tend to be at present.

The authors of the report, Judy LaKind, PhD (LaKind Associates, Catonsville, MD), Cheston Berlin, Jr, MD (The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, PA), and CAPT Donald Mattison, MD (National Institutes of Health), advise health care providers to continue to encourage new mothers to breastfeed their babies. In agreement with the World Health Organization's (WHO's) continuing support of breastfeeding, this study's findings, based on epidemiologic data, do not downplay the adverse effects of exposure to dioxins and other environmental toxins. However, the authors distinguish between the statistical significance of risk/benefit assessments in an individual compared to population effects.

"When breastmilk was chosen by regulatory agencies as a handy medium for measuring environmental toxins, the public became alarmed that breast milk was contaminated. The authors, eminent authorities on the subject have put these fears to rest," says Ruth A. Lawrence, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Breastfeeding Medicine, from the Department of Pediatrics, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.
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Breastfeeding Medicine is an authoritative, peer-reviewed, multidisciplinary journal published quarterly. The Journal publishes original scientific papers, reviews, and case studies on a broad spectrum of topics in lactation medicine. It presents evidence-based research advances and explores the immediate and long-term outcomes of breastfeeding, including the epidemiologic, physiologic, and psychological benefits of breastfeeding.

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., is a privately held, fully integrated media company known for establishing authoritative peer-reviewed journals in many promising areas of science and biomedical research, including Journal of Women's Health, Journal of Gynecologic Surgery, and Pediatric Asthma, Allergy and Immunology. Its biotechnology trade magazine, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN), was the first in its field and is today the industry's most widely read publication worldwide. A complete list of the firm's 60 journals, books, and newsmagazines is available at www.liebertpub.com

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. 140 Huguenot St., New Rochelle, NY 10801-5215 www.liebertpub.com
Phone: (914) 740-2100 (800) M-LIEBERT Fax: (914) 740-2101

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News

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