No need to worry about pesticides in breast milk, new study finds

A breastfeeding mum and her baby.
A breastfeeding mum and her baby. Picasa

RESEARCHERS at the University of Western Australia recently published a study which shows that levels of pesticides in breast milk have drastically dropped over the past 40 years.

Senior researcher and founder of the Human Lactation Research Group, Professor Peter Hartmann, assures breastfeeding women that there is no longer any need to be worried about pesticides.

"As far as pesticides are concerned there is no reason to avoid anything,” he said.

He said there had been a 42-fold decrease in the levels of pesticide in breast milk, which he described as "huge”.

This means that Australia, which now has the lowest levels of pesticides in breast milk in the world, is well below the maximum levels permitted by the World Health Organisation.

"Ten years ago we were about at the maximum levels permitted by the World Health Organisation now we're way below those,” Prof Hartmann said.

The study started in 1972 and looked at the levels of 88 different pesticide levels in breast milk and Professor Hartmann says that there was a deliberate effort through government policy to reduce these levels.

"It has taken about 40 years to get the levels down, with concerted efforts required and they've got down to levels now that are of no concern,” he said.

Studies done in Eastern Australian States in 2010 showed similar levels to the most recent findings of Prof Hartmann's, so breastfeeding mothers in NSW also have nothing to worry about.

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