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Human milk, environmental toxins and pollution of our infants: Disturbing findings during the first six months of life

Author(s): Gerd-Michael Lackmann, MD

Journal: International Journal of Biomedical Science
ISSN 1550-9702

Volume: 2;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 178;
Date: 2006;
Original page

Keywords: Breast-feeding | Organochlorine compounds | Environmental pollutants | Dietary toxicology | Children

Background: Toxic organochlorine compounds (OC) are transmitted from mother to infant during lactation. OC are ingested by and stored in their offspring. Different harmful effects later in life have been attributed to the body pollution with these OC, although these findings are still discussed in an argumentative manner, since first other investigators could demonstrate beneficial effects of breast-feeding despite elevated OC concentrations, and second the benefits of breast-feeding are an unchallenged fact, especially in those countries, where infant formulas are not available. It was the aim of the present study to determine the lactational uptake of different OC (polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), hexachlorobenzene (HCB), and DDE) in breast-fed vs. bottle-fed infants up to six months of age. Methods: With the written informed consent of the parents, blood samples were taken from each ten breast-fed and bottle-fed infants, respectively. The specimens were immediately centrifuged, and serum was stored in glass tubes without an anticoagulant up to analysis. Three higher-chlorinated PCB congeners (IUPAC Nos. 138, 153, and 180), HCB, and DDE, the main metabolite of DDT in mammals, were determined with capillary gas chromatography with electron capture detection. In addition, reliability was tested with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Possible correlations of OC with personal data were tested with a standard multivariate regression model. Differences between study groups were tested on mean differences with Wilcoxons test for independent samples. Results: We could demonstrate that breast-fed infants have significantly (p
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