[Chemical pollution and breast milk: Taking positions]

An Pediatr (Barc). 2013 Dec;79(6):391.e1-5. doi: 10.1016/j.anpedi.2013.04.004. Epub 2013 Jun 21.
[Article in Spanish]


Chemical pollution affects all ecosystems of our planet. Human milk has been used as a biomarker of environmental pollution as, due to bioaccumulation processes in fat tissue, many chemical compounds reach measurable concentrations that can be readily tested in breast milk. Quite frequently information about the presence of contaminants in breast milk appears in the media, leading to misunderstanding among parents and health professionals, and in some cases breastfeeding the child is stopped. In this article, the Breastfeeding Committee of the Spanish Association of Paediatrics stresses the importance of promoting breastfeeding as the healthiest option, because its benefits clearly outweigh any health risks associated with chemical contaminants in breast milk. Breast milk contains protective factors that counteract the potential effects related to prenatal exposure to environmental pollutants. This article summarises the key recommendations to reduce the level of chemical contaminants in breast milk. It also highlights the importance of government involvement in the development of programs to eliminate or reduce chemical contamination of food and the environment. In this way, the negative effects on child health resulting from exposure to these toxic compounds through the placenta and breast milk may be prevented.

Keywords: Breast feeding; Health promotion; Lactancia materna; Promoción de la salud; Toxic environmental substances; Tóxicos ambientales.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Breast Feeding*
  • Environmental Pollutants* / analysis
  • Environmental Pollution* / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Milk, Human* / chemistry


  • Environmental Pollutants