Thursday, March 10, 2005


Texas Tech University researchers recently announce they had tested breast milk from 18 women around the country and found perchlorate in all 18 samples along with 46 of 47 dairy milk samples. If they had done studies in those women and their animals, they would undoubtedly have found perchlorate in their body fat. It is one of many fat soluble toxic chemicals to which even babies at their mother's breasts may be exposed.

What is perchlorate?

When sodium or potassium is added to perchlorate, you have industrial explosives including one used for rocket fuel. Wastes from the manufacture and improper disposal of perchlorate-containing chemicals are increasingly being discovered in soil and water.

There have been confirmed perchlorate releases in at least 25 states throughout the United States. EPA, other federal agencies, states, water suppliers and industry are working to address perchlorate contamination through monitoring for perchlorate in drinking water and source water and developing treatment technologies that can remove perchlorate from drinking water.

In the meantime, why worry? The potential effects of exposure to the chemicals such as perchlorate and its many chemical relatives are known to have the ability to cause cancer and some are able to impair the immune system. Others, termed hormone disruptors or endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), are known to interfere with the normal functioning of the bodies own hormones, or chemical messengers. It is certainly particularly worrying that animal experiments show that if early life forms are exposed to hormone disrupting substances, when they are being programmed to control and respond to the hormone signals throughout life, then a whole series of irreversible effects can occur. For example, in the womb exposure to sex hormone disrupting substances can particularly compromise the ability of that offspring to reproduce later in life, while exposure to other hormone disrupting substances, such as thyroid hormone disruptors, can de-rail normal brain function. Animal experiments have shown that exposure to low doses of numerous environmental toxic agents, during the neonatal period of rapid brain growth (or brain growth spurt), can lead to disruption of adult brain function and increase the susceptibility to toxic agents in later life. In humans, this period of rapid brain growth starts during the third trimester of pregnancy and continues throughout the first two years of life.

And if you are the oldest of your siblings, you may be at disadvantage. With regard to the toxic substances in breast milk, first born infants are thought to be at a higher risk than subsequent children, because mothers tend to excrete the largest proportion of their body burden of contaminants during their first lactation . Premature and low birth weight infants may also be particularly at risk because they have less fat tissue for the storage of fat-dwelling chemicals, which may mean that these toxins are present at higher concentrations in their vital organs.

No comments: