(Natural News) A new study that evaluated American women’s breast milk for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), also known as “forever chemicals,” has shown “cause for concern” in the levels found in all 50 samples analyzed.
The study, first reported by The Guardian, showed that the chemicals were found at levels roughly 2,000 times higher than what experts consider safe. This is the first study since 2005 to look at PFAS in breast milk samples.
According to study co-author Erika Schreder, the findings indicate that PFAS contamination of breast milk may be universal in the United States. The chemicals are contaminating what should be “nature’s perfect food,” added Schreder, who works as a science director for Toxic-Free Future, a nonprofit group that calls for the use of safer products and chemicals.
Schreder and her colleagues published their findings on Thursday, May 13, in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.
Forever chemicals found in breast milk samples
PFAS are called “forever chemicals” because they practically take forever to break down. This characteristic makes them very useful for many products, such as non-stick cookware and stain-resistant fabric. But it is this exact characteristic as well that allows PFAS to persist in the environment for several decades.
PFAS have also been known to accumulate inside human bodies. In fact, they have been linked to many serious health problems, such as cancer, birth defects, liver disease and low sperm counts, to name a few.
Previous studies have looked at PFAS in air, drinking water and children’s bodies. But little is known about PFAS in breast milk. To shed light on the matter, the researchers tested the breast milk of 50 women for 30 long-chain and nine short-chain PFAS. Long-chain PFAS are thought to be more dangerous than short-chain ones because they can stay inside the body for months before being excreted completely.