New research conducted by Toxic-Free Future, a Seattle-based non-profit fighting for safer products free of deadly chemicals, found that women's breast milk, especially in the US, contains dangerous levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
Erika Schreder, a co-author and science director with Toxic-Free Future, said the findings "are cause for concern" and highlight a possible threat to newborns.
Schreder collected 50 breast milk samples and discovered that the PFAS contamination was nearly 2,000 times higher than the level of regular drinking water.
"The study shows that PFAS contamination of breast milk is likely universal in the US and that these harmful chemicals are contaminating what should be nature's perfect food," Schreder said.
PFAS consists of approximately 9,000 compounds and is used in manufacturing clothing, food packaging, cooking products with Teflon, and cleaning products. They are called "forever chemicals" because they do not naturally break down and build-up in humans.
The study, titled "Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in Breast Milk: Concerning Trends for Current-Use PFAS," was peer-reviewed and published in the Environmental Science and Technology journal on Thursday. It said PFAS chemicals are linked to various diseases such as cancer, thyroid, lower sperm counts, and liver disease.
"The study provides more evidence that the PFAS that companies are currently using and putting into products are behaving like the ones they phased out, and they're also getting into breast milk and exposing children at a very vulnerable phase of development," she said.
"Moms work hard to protect their babies, but big corporations are putting these, and other toxic chemicals that can contaminate breast milk, in products when safer options are available," Schreder continued.
Besides breast milk, a separate study by the non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) reported 19 million Americans had been exposed to PFAS in their drinking water. EWG researchers found 610 locations, including public water systems, military bases, military and civilian airports, industrial plants, dumps, and firefighter training sites, across the country with dangerous levels of PFAS chemicals in the ground.
America appears to have a PFAS problem.