Below are copies of two letters sent in July of 2013 to the lead author of a study published June 18, 2013, in Environmental Health Perspectives (Environ Health Perspect; DOI:10.1289/ehp.1206187 online at http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/1206187):  "Perinatal Air Pollutant Exposures and Autism Spectrum Disorder in the Children of Nurses’ Health Study II Participants," by Andrea L. Roberts and others.

 

 

 

 

Pollution Action

33 McWhirt Loop, Ste. 115,  Fredericksburg, VA  22406

www.pollutionaction.org     dm@pollutionaction.org 

 

July 8, 2013

Andrea L. Roberts, Ph.D.

Department of Epidemiology

Harvard School of Public Health

677 Huntington Avenue

Boston, MA  02115.

 Subject:  Perinatal Air Pollutant Exposures and Autism Spectrum Disorder

 

Dear Dr. Roberts:

 

I notice in your recent study (and in media articles about it) an apparent assumption that the developmental harm that is probably caused by pollution results from toxins transferred to the fetus during pregnancy.  I was unable to find any reference to consideration of postnatal transmission of toxins from mother to infant.  You are quoted as saying, "these things [pollutants] are neurotoxins and they can pass from mother to the fetus while it’s still developing” (quoted in Environmental Health News).  But there are good reasons to see postnatal transfer, via lactation, to be at least as significant.  Postnatal transmission of the toxins is highly subject to modification, which tremendously increases the practicable means of making use of your findings, as opposed to assuming that a move of family residence is the only way to avoid potentially harmful toxins.  Some reasons for a new focus on postnatal transfer of toxins to infants:

 

    1)  Most of the toxins of concern, including mercury and important components diesel emissions,1 are of the persistent, lipophilic type:  they are attracted to and stored in body fat for many years.  At least two studies have found toxic components of diesel emissions to become highly concentrated in human milk.2   Most of the persistent, lipophilic toxins that a mother was exposed to during pregnancy will also be in her body during lactation.

    2)  Most U.S. children are breastfed currently.  According to an EPA study, dioxins (neuro-developmental toxins) are known to typically be present in U.S. breast milk in doses scores of times higher than the EPA-determined safe threshold.3  (And also in concentrations many times higher than in formula.)4   

    3)  First note that dioxins and PCBs are organochlorine compounds, then read the following quotation from what is apparently the most thorough study carried out on the subject of infant absorption of toxins from mother's milk vs. from fetal absorption, "Much higher doses of organochlorine compounds (from 10 to 20 times higher) penetrate the infant's body via the milk than via the transplacental route."5

    4)  Considerable development of the infant brain goes on during the first year or so after birth. Indications of autism do not become apparent until long after breastfeeding has commenced, so there is an ample period during which postnatal ingestions could become the principal causes of development of autism. 

    5)  A highly-published scientist and Fellow of the American College of Nutrition, Raymond J. Shamberger, concluded, after a study of all 50 U.S. states and 51 U.S. counties, that "exclusive breast-feeding shows a direct epidemiological relationship to autism," and also, "the longer the duration of exclusive breast-feeding, the greater the correlation with autism."6  Findings of two other studies have pointed in the same direction.6a

    6)  Food is an especially efficient means of absorbing dioxin; the EPA estimates that about 90% of human body burden of dioxin results from food consumed.  Breastfeeding infants' post-natal ingestions of dioxins are therefore mostly determined by the contents of their feedings. The same probably applies to other lipophilic toxins within diesel emissions, including PBDEs in amounts indicated by excellent evidence to be neurologically harmful.7

    7)  Dioxins in diesel emissions have been greatly increasing in the U.S. environment, as of the most recent EPA data.8   Increases of other components of diesel emissions have apparently not been studied, but trends in those would probably be similar to increases of dioxins, as diesel emissions in general are increasing.

 

As indicated in items 3 and 5 above, there are good reasons to consider postnatal transfer of toxins to infants to be possibly even more harmful than transfers during gestation, regarding origins of autism. 

 

As mentioned, another crucial reason for focusing on transmission of the relevant toxins via breastfeeding is that this is something that is very subject to modification.  When commenting on your study, Dr. Andrew Adesman, chief of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children's Medical Center (Lake Success, N.Y.), said, "It's easier said than done to suggest that she move or not breathe the air."  I see no sign of anybody thinking about cutting off the transfer of toxins at what is apparently the stage of greatest transmission, which happens also to be the stage where the transfer is easy to stop.

 

One reason to focus especially on dioxins, PCBs and PBDEs as the most significant neuro-developmental toxins is that all three are known to reduce testosterone in infants.  Testosterone is known to be important to neurological development.9  The disproportionately high number of males with autism (as well as ADHD) could be logically explainable by considering effects of chemicals that specifically reduce testosterone, since that hormone is especially fundamental to males --  as well as important to mental development

 

So it is very significant that lactation appears to be an especially effective means of concentrating and then transferring to an infant three chemicals that reduce testosterone.  The connection of lactation with mental impairment is strengthened by the fact that these toxins are all components of diesel emissions, which your study has shown to be closely linked with autism.  Lactation has been found to be many times more effective in such transfers from the mother than the transplacental route, at minimum in the case of dioxins and PCBs. 

 

Another reason to focus on breastfeeding as the most significant means by which infants ingest neurological toxins:  It provides a perfectly logical explanation for what appears to be an otherwise unexplained paradox regarding autism, which is that children of college graduates (in the U.S.) are far more likely to have autism than children of less-educated parents.  It is well established that college graduates in the U.S. (and certain other countries) breastfeed at about twice the rate of high school graduates. That (in combination with items 2, 3 and 5 above) is a perfectly satisfactory explanation for the disproportionately high rate of autism among children of college graduates.   In relation to that, it is noteworthy that autism among children of college graduates has not been found to be disproportionately high in studies in the Nordic countries, where university graduates are not more likely to breastfeed than mothers of lower socio-economic status.10

 

Unfortunately, many people do not want to consider the possibility that problems might be resulting from breastfeeding, given the general belief in the "known benefits" of breastfeeding.  These presumed benefits are based on observational studies, which are confounded in this case by known typical characteristics of bottle-feeding households:  low income and smoking.  Both of these characteristics are known to lead to the same illnesses that various studies have found are associated with bottle feeding.11    It is noteworthy that many studies have also found worse health outcomes associated with breastfeeding, including 26 studies just in the categories of diabetes, asthma and allergies alone,12 as well as three in the case of autism.6, 6a  And a wealth of historical health data (mainly from the CDC) covering the period since breastfeeding rates increased greatly (during the 1970's) shows that, among the disorders alleged to be reduced by breastfeeding, not one of those disorders actually declined.  In fact, all but one of them increased greatly, often varying in close correlation (in time, direction and location) with specific variations in breastfeeding rates. (see www.breastfeedingprosandcons.info). 

 

It is undisputed that breast milk contains immune cells, but there is important reason to question whether these cause anything other than harm to a child in the long run.  There are currently four epidemics of childhood diseases (obesity, diabetes, asthma and allergies) that have arisen since breastfeeding greatly increased beginning in 1972 (see link just above), and the explanation for three of the epidemics that has the best support is the "hygiene hypothesis;" according to that, modern hygiene has excessively reduced the microbial challenges that the infant immune system needs in order to develop properly.  Microbe-destroying immune cells in breast milk, reducing the needed stimulative challenges still further, should be seen in that light.

 

It would be appropriate for your research group to look carefully into the individual breastfeeding histories (duration and exclusiveness as well as whether it was done) within your study groups.  This would best be done sooner rather than later, by questioning parents who are still in your files, before mothers' memories degrade further.  Considering the importance of arriving expeditiously at actionable findings on this important matter, and considering how little time would be needed to gather this additional information from the people already in your files, some of you may want to proceed on this even before obtaining additional funding.

 

It might even be appropriate to issue a supplementary press release, to correct the apparent impression that the transfers of toxins from the mother that are most significant are prenatal.  There would be major pressure to say the usual thing about "breastfeeding is nevertheless recommended because of its known benefits," but the natural tendency toward groupthink in this matter should be resisted.  Please check out the evidence about the presumed benefits of breastfeeding, referred to in the above paragraphs.

 

The possibilities open to parents for avoiding the apparent harmful transfers of toxins might be immensely expanded if your group were to do just a little further research and publicize what you are likely to find, building on other research:  that postnatal transfers of toxins from the mother are extremely significant.

 

I would appreciate hearing any thoughts you have on this matter. 

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Donald P. Meulenberg

Director

 

 

Editor’s note:  Since the above letters were sent,

-- a much more complete statement has been published bringing together latest information about toxins (including pesticides) in contemporary environments and human milk and their effects on development of infants, and comparing with the alternative to breastfeeding that was successful for the entire U.S. generation born in the mid-20th century; see www.pollution-effects.info.

 

-- substantial additional research has been published linking autism with air pollution.  To read an article that summarizes findings of those studies and provides related evidence and interpretations of those studies’ findings, go to www.air-pollution-autism.info .

 

 

-- considerable information has been collected regarding infants’ early postnatal periods of vulnerability to toxins being at least equivalent to that of the prenatal period, including many statements from eminently authoritative sources, and over 30 studies that have found adverse effects of various environmental toxins postnatally while finding less or no effects of exposures to those same toxins prenatally.  See www.disability-origins.info

 

_____________________

 

 

1)  (Dioxins and PCBs are well-known components of diesel emissions, and PBDEs are also present in those emissions):  Aerosol and Air Quality Research, 11: 709–715, 2011  Copyright © Taiwan Association for Aerosol Research  ISSN: 1680-8584 print / 2071-1409 online doi: 10.4209/aaqr.2011.05.0058  Reduction of Toxic Pollutants Emitted from Heavy-duty Diesel Vehicles by Deploying Diesel Particulate Filters  Lien-Te Hsieh et al. at http://aaqr.org/VOL11_No6_November2011/8_AAQR-11-05-OA-0058_709-715.pdf.  Also see Section 3.c of www.air-pollution-autism.info.

 

2) Transfer of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons to Fetuses and Breast Milk of Rats Exposed to Diesel Exhaust, Tozuka, Watanabe et al., Kanazawa University and Tokyo Metropolitan Public Health Research Institute; Journal of Health Science 50(5) 2004 pp. 497-502  at https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jhs/50/5/50_5_497/_pdf      and

 

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in human milk from Italian women: influence of cigarette smoking and residential area.  Zanieri L, et al., University of Florence, Department of Chemistry,  Florence, Italy. Chemosphere. 2007 Apr;67(7):1265-74 Epub 2007/Jan, At http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17258279

Also see Section 2.c.4 of http://www.breastfeeding-toxins.info/

 

3)  U.S. EPA. Estimating Exposure To Dioxin-Like Compounds - Volume I: Executive Summary   U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C., EPA/600/8-88/005Ca., 2002, revised 2005 – http://cfpub.epa.gov/si/si_public_record_Report.cfm?dirEntryID=43870,  Section II.6, "Highly Exposed Populations", 4/94 (p. 39)  "Using these procedures and assuming that an infant breast feeds for one year, has an average weight during this period of 10 kg, ingests 0.8 kg/d of breast milk and that the dioxin concentration in milk fat is 20 ppt of TEQ, the average daily dose to the infant over this period is predicted to be about 60 pg of TEQ/kg-d." 

Also: At http://www.epa.gov/iris/subst/1024.htm  one can read that the EPA's "RfD" for dioxin is 7 × 10−10 mg/kg-day."  (that is, O.7 pg of TEQ/kg-d)   In the EPA’s “Glossary of Health Effects”, RfD is defined:  “RfD (oral reference dose): An estimate (with uncertainty spanning perhaps an order of magnitude) of a daily oral exposure of a chemical to the human population (including sensitive subpopulations) that is likely to be without risk of deleterious noncancer effects during a lifetime."

 

Also:  Infant Exposure to Dioxin-like Compounds in Breast Milk,  Lorber and Phillips  Volume 110 | Number 6 | June 2002 • Environmental Health Perspectives  http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncea/cfm/recordisplay.cfm?deid=54708#Download  

 

The EPA has apparently not established thresholds for PCBs, but there is ample evidence that current background levels of PCBs and PBDEs are hazardous to children. (see Footnote 7 about PBDEs)

 

For ease of referral to the sources indicated here, if there is no highlighted link, you can (a) use your cursor to drag over and select a URL from the footnote (select the letters beginning with www or http and ending just before the next space; be sure to select all of that but no more, not even a space), then (b) control - c  (to copy that); then (c) paste that (control - v) into the horizontal web-address slot at the top left of your browser page, then press ENTER on your keyboard. 

 

4)  EPA Home/Research/Environmental Assessment: An Evaluation of Infant Exposure to Dioxin-Like Compounds in Breast Milk, Matthew Lorber (National Center for Environmental Assessment, Office of Research and Development, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) et al.   At http:/cfpub.epa.gov/ncea/cfm/recordisplay.cfm?deid=54708

 

5) Concentration of Persistent Organochlorine Compounds in the Placenta and Milk of the Same Women, Katarzyna Czaja et al., Ch. 21 of Persistent, Bioaccumulative, and Toxic Chemicals I, Robert L. Lipnick et al. editors, ACS Symposium Series, American Chemical Society, 2001; citing Jensen, A.A. et al, Chemical Contaminants in Human Milk, CRC Press, Inc., Boca Raton, Ann Arbor, Boston, 1991.  Dr. Jensen (of the Dept. of Environmental Technology, Danish Institute of Technology) is the author of more than 50 papers, including nine concerning chemical contamination of human milk.

Findings of above confirmed in animal tests, with even greater contrasts, in Ahlborg et al., Risk Assessment of Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs), Nordic Council of Ministers, Copenhagen.  Report NORD 1992; 26  at  http://ki.se/content/1/c4/91/52/NordPCB-92.pdf

 

6) Autism rates associated with nutrition and the WIC program.  Shamberger R.J., Phd, FACN, King James Medical Laboratory, Cleveland, OH  J Am Coll Nutr. 2011 Oct;30(5):348-53.  Abstract at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22081621  The full text, including the quoted passages, can be purchased for $7 or reference librarians at local libraries could probably obtain it at no charge. 

6a)  Trends in Developmental, Behavioral and Somatic Factors by Diagnostic Sub-group in Pervasive Developmental Disorders: A Follow-up Analysis, pp. 10, 14   Paul Whiteley (Department of Pharmacy, Health & Well-being, Faculty of Applied Sciences, University of Sunderland, UK), et al.  Autism Insights 2009:1 3-17  at www.la-press.com/trends-in-developmental-behavioral-and-somatic-factors-by-diagnostic-s-article-a1725). This U.K. study found that 65% of autistic cases had been exclusively breastfed for four weeks. Two other sources (Patterns of breastfeeding in a UK longitudinal cohort study, Pontin et al., and Infant Feeding 1995, Foster et al.) are compatible in showing a 28% comparable rate of breastfeeding in the general U.K. population.  

Also:  Breastfeeding and Autism  P. G. Williams, MD, Pediatrics, University of Louisville, and L. L. Sears, MD, presented at International Meeting for Autism Research, May 22, 2010, Philadelphia Marriot  https://imfar.confex.com/imfar/2010/webprogram/Paper6362.html)   This study found a 37% rate of

breastfeeding among children diagnosed with autism, as compared with 14% with comparable breastfeeding in that state's (Kentucky's) population.

 

7)  Breast milk is apparently over 50 times as high in PBDEs as formula.  (U.S. EPA  (2010): An exposure assessment of polybrominated diphenyl ethers. National Center for Environmental Assessment, Washington, DC; EPA/600/R-08/086F). (online at www.epa.gov/ncea)   A major study of effects of PBDEs in breast milk found that children who had consumed breast milk with first and second quartile levels of PBDEs showed over three and two times the likelihood of later having ADHD, based on behavior test scores, compared with children who had consumed breast milk with below-median levels of PBDEs.  (Lactational Exposure to Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers and Its Relation to Social and Emotional Development among Toddlers  Hoffman, et al., Environ Health Perspect. 10/2012; www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3491946/ ) 

 

According to a document of the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, "The concentration of total PBDEs in air ranges from 5.5 pg/m3 in rural environments to 52 pg/m3 in urban air." (from Section 4.1 of ATDSR document on PBDEs at www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp68-c4.pdf)  This provides added confirmation that PBDEs, also, would be among the developmentally-toxic components of diesel emissions whose concentrations in a mother's body would be affected by atmospheric pollution.

 

8)  Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, 37 (2003) 202 217 Dioxin risks in perspective: past, present, and future  Hays and  Aylward  at  http://acdrupal.evergreen.edu/envirohealth/system/files/Dioxin+risks+in+perspective.pdf    

Also:  An Inventory of Sources and Environmental Releases of Dioxin-Like Compounds in the United States for the Years 1987, 1995, and 2000, EPA/600/P-03/002F, November 2006: especially Table1-17. At   http://www.epa.gov/ncea/pdfs/dioxin/2006/dioxin.pdf  (2000 appears to be the most recent year for which the EPA provides national dioxin release data.)

 

9)  See Section 2 of http://www.breastfeeding-health-effects.info/

 

10)  See Section 1.2.s in www.pollutionaction.org/breastfeeding-and-autism-and-cancer.htm

 

11)  See http://www.breastfeeding-benefits.net/

 

12)  See www.breastfeeding-studies.info.

 

 

 

 

***********************************************************************************************************************************

 

 

Pollution Action*

33 McWhirt Loop, Ste. 115,  Fredericksburg, VA  22406

www.pollutionaction.org        dm@pollutionaction.org

 

July 29, 2013

Andrea L. Roberts, PhD

Department of Epidemiology

Harvard School of Public Health

677 Huntington Avenue

Boston, MA  02115.

 

                                    Subject:  Latest about Mercury Exposure and Autism Spectrum Disorder

Dear Dr. Roberts:

 

Since I wrote you three weeks ago, new information on this subject has come to light that you might not be aware of.  You have no doubt read about the recently-published Seychelles study that found that elevated mercury levels in high-fish-eating mothers did not lead to increased rates of autism in the children.  This appears to be an authoritative study, coming to a conclusion that contrasts strongly with your study group's findings.  What may be of special concern is the following:

 

According to an EPA document,1 the EPA was apparently recently preparing to reexamine its RfD (estimated generally-safe dose) for methylmercury, based at least partly on the anticipated results of the Seychelles study.  Now that the results of the Seychelles study have been published, receiving publicity and saying that they found no adverse effects in children of mothers with high levels of mercury, it may be appropriate for your group to endeavor to prevent the Seychelles study's findings from leading to undesirable dietary recommendations. 

 

There are reasons to see that the findings of both your study and the Seychelles study are fully compatible.  In both cases, the mercury exposure assessed was at the time of birth.  In both cases, most people seem to be thinking that the period of potential harm to the infant from maternal mercury is prenatal, but that may be untrue in both cases.  According to EPA-contracted researchers, "A wealth of information on the pharmacokinetics of Hg and MeHg (mercury and methyl mercury) exists in the available literature (extensively reviewed by U.S. EPA, 1997b). Together, the data indicate that the lactational transfer of Hg during the first 15 days of lactation accounts for roughly one-third of the transfer of Hg during gestation."2 (emphasis added).  And obviously the transfer of mercury typically continues on from there. (The placenta provides some shielding of the fetus, and transfer of mercury via milk may facilitate absorption of the mercury.)

 

Also in the same document just referenced (Section 5.2.2, last paragraph), a good reason is provided to be especially concerned about postnatal infant ingestion of toxins:  "Oskarsson et al. (1998) have reviewed a risk assessment of neonatal exposure to metals:...The brain is especially vulnerable during the brain growth spurt...." Notice in this chart that most of the brain growth spurt takes place in the first year after birth.

 

The reason why postnatal effects of mercury exposure are of special relevance here is that your study and the Seychelles study were carried out in different countries with very different rates of breastfeeding.  Your study was carried out in a country in which extended, exclusive breastfeeding is done by a substantial percentage of mothers;2a that is especially likely to be the case with nurses (whose data your group was studying), given the nearly universal recent breastfeeding recommendations of the medical community.  In the Seychelles, by contrast, exclusive breastfeeding rates are extremely low.  According to WHO data, tabulating data from 64 countries in the developing world, general average exclusive breastfeeding rates at six months in 1996 and 2006 were 33% and 37%.3  By comparison, equivalent breastfeeding in the Seychelles was 1.5% in 2008 (1/8 of the U.S rate), rising to 2% in 2010.4  Especially when seeing the increasing trends in those two pairs of figures, it is apparent that exclusive breastfeeding was probably extremely low in the study area in the earlier years during the infancies of the children and young adults whose neurological developments were investigated in the Seychelles study.  Therefore infants' ingestion of maternal mercury in the Seychelles would have been extremely low during their brains' periods of maximum vulnerability to metals; this contrasts with what would have taken place in the U.S.

 

 

In addition to especially rapid ingestion of mercury during lactation, retention of mercury is apparently greatly increased by continuation of milk-based feeding.  A study with infant monkeys found that their mercury concentrations showed a sudden drop directly after switching them to solid foods; that was accompanied by an increase in fecal mercury excretion."5  Note below the dramatic increase in fecal excretion of mercury after weaning.

 

monkeyMercuryJ.jpg

 

The mechanism that causes this to take place seemed to be unknown (milk facilitating gut absorption of ingested mercury, or solid food promoting flow of intestinal content containing or binding to mercury?). But there appears to be good reason to assume that milk-based feeding vs. solid foods makes the difference between growing buildup of mercury in the infant body and accumulation-avoiding excretion of the mercury.

 

So your study was done in a country in which (during the brain's maximum vulnerability to metal toxins)

a) transfer of mercury from mothers to infants is very often high, and

b) the infants' retention and increasing concentrations of these large doses of mercury received is likely also to be high.

 

The Seychelles study, on the other hand, was done in a country in which it is very rare to have high mother-to-infant transfer of mercury during this period of an infant's special vulnerability. 

 

It is not surprising that the two studies would reach superficially-opposite conclusions about effects of maternal mercury.  Postnatal maternal transfer of mercury to an infant appears to be what has the significant impact, and that transfer was very different in the two different study areas.

 

Given the media coverage of the Seychelles study's findings and the EPA's obvious attentiveness to that study, it is important that it be made clear that the Seychelles findings should not influence nutritional recommendations in nations in which breastfeeding rates are moderate or high. More specifically, they should not be considered applicable to women who breastfeed or intend to breastfeed.  This is especially true given (a) your group's findings, and (b) the finding by a highly-published scientist and Fellow of the American College of Nutrition (Raymond A. Shamberger), concluding a study of all 50 U.S. states and 51 U.S. counties, noting a close correlation between breastfeeding rates and autism incidence, and finding that "the longer the duration of exclusive breast-feeding, the greater the correlation with autism."6  (Another U.S. study and a U.K study arrived at similar findings.7)

 

It would be very appropriate for your group to research the breastfeeding habits of the mothers you studied, which probably would confirm that mercury exposure of the mother is normally a hazard to the infant only for infants who are breastfed.

 

I would appreciate hearing any thoughts you have on this matter.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Donald P. Meulenberg

Director

 

 

Editor’s note:  After the writing of the above letter, considerable additional information has been assembled regarding the following:

 

-- effects of mercury on development -- see www.mercury-effects.info

 

-- correlations between breastfeeding and autism -- see www.autism-correlations.info

 

       ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­_____________________

 

Below are footnotes for the lower letter (dated July 29), NOT for the first letter (of July 8) on this website.

 

* Perinatal Air Pollutant Exposures and Autism Spectrum Disorder in the Children of Nurses’ Health Study II Participants, Andrea L. Roberts et al.,  found at   http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/1206187 )

 

    1)  "Mercury Study Report to Congress," accessed at www.epa.gov/mercury/reportover.htm, July 26, 2013)

 

    2)  Exploration of Perinatal Pharmacokinetic Issues  Contract No. 68-C-99-238, Task Order No. 13  Prepared for Office of Research and Development,  EPA, by: Versar, Inc. EPA/630/R-01/004, Section 4.7.4.3,  at www.epa.gov/raf/publications/pdfs/PPKFINAL.PDF 

 

 2a) www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/pdf/2008BreastfeedingReportCard.pdf , top of second page.

 

3) found at whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2009/9789241597494_eng.pdf

 

4)  Report on the Situation of Infant and Young Child Feeding in Seychelles, August 2011, IBFAN, The Committee on the Rights of the Child   www.ibfan.org/art/IBFAN_CRC58%20-2011_Seychelles.pdf

 

5)  Lok, E. 1983. The effect of weaning on blood, hair, fecal and urinary mercury after chronic ingestion of methylmercuric chloride by infant monkeys.  Toxicology Letters, Volume 15, Issues 2–3, February 1983, Pages 147–152,  abstract at  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0378427483902084

 

6)  Autism rates associated with nutrition and the WIC program.  Shamberger R.J., Phd, FACN, King James Medical Laboratory, Cleveland, OH  J Am Coll Nutr. 2011 Oct;30(5):348-53.  Abstract at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22081621  The full text, including the quoted passages, can be purchased for $7 or reference librarians at local libraries could probably obtain it at no charge.

 

7)  Trends in Developmental, Behavioral and Somatic Factors by Diagnostic Sub-group in Pervasive Developmental Disorders: A Follow-up Analysis, pp. 10, 14   Paul Whiteley (Department of Pharmacy, Health & Well-being, Faculty of Applied Sciences, University of Sunderland, UK), et al.  Autism Insights 2009:1 3-17  at www.la-press.com/trends-in-developmental-behavioral-and-somatic-factors-by-diagnostic-s-article-a1725). This U.K. study found that 65% of autistic cases had been exclusively breastfed for four weeks. Two other sources (Patterns of breastfeeding in a UK longitudinal cohort study, Pontin et al., and Infant Feeding 1995, Foster et al.) are compatible in showing a 28% comparable rate of breastfeeding in the general U.K. population.     Also:  Breastfeeding and Autism  P. G. Williams, MD, Pediatrics, University of Louisville, and L. L. Sears, MD, presented at International Meeting for Autism Research, May 22, 2010, Philadelphia Marriot  https://imfar.confex.com/imfar/2010/webprogram/Paper6362.html)   This study found a 37% rate of breastfeeding among children diagnosed with autism, as compared with 14% with comparable breastfeeding in that state's (Kentucky's) population.

 

 

 

Considering the general view that there should be no limitations on breastfeeding, note the following:

Norway is at the very top level of the world's long-standing high-breastfeeding countries.*a  There is therefore extra credibility in a statement about effects of breastfeeding if it is made by researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, especially when they are summarizing "the largest study that has been done on breastfeeding and health." That study was apparently also the only breastfeeding study that has utilized randomization, the best way to avoid erroneous results due to confounding. Their statement was as follows: "This study cuts the legs out from underneath most of the assertions that breastfeeding has health benefits."*b

 

*a See http://www.breastfeeding-rates.info/, noting Norway's 6-month rate in the Europe chart and then seeing the 6-month breastfeeding rates in the World data set, with only Mongolia and Rwanda sharing the top position with Norway.

 

*b "Breastfeeding is not as beneficial as once thought" (06.01.2010) published by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, at www.ntnu.edu/news/breastfeeding. Their statement was based on findings of the PROBIT study in Belarus. (This article, on the website of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, indicated no author; it therefore appears to be an established, official statement of the University, dated 2010 and accessed in 2013.)

 

 

 

*For information about Pollution Action and the author of the above letters, go to www.pollutionaction.org