Occupationally derived chemicals in breast milk.
Exogenously derived chemicals have been widely reported in breast milk. Chemicals typically found in occupational exposures, including trace metals, solvents, and halogenated hydrocarbons, are reviewed, in terms of milk partition factors, potential infant exposures, and possible infant health effects. In addition to ingestion of a chemical from breast milk, an infant incurs a neonatal body burden of a chemical due to transplacental migration from maternal blood. For trace metals, neonatal blood levels are similar to maternal blood levels. Partition of metals to milk is less efficient, but nevertheless can contribute significantly to an infant's body burden. For lipid-soluble pesticide residues and halogenated biphenyls, neonatal body burden is much less than that of the mother, but transfer to milk is efficient, due to the high proportion of milk fat. It is suggested that potential organic mercury toxicity can be estimated from concentration in maternal blood or milk. For other chemicals, available data are not sufficient to evaluate short- or long-term health effects. However, for many halogenated hydrocarbons, concentrations in normal human milk would permit infant exposure above guidelines for allowable daily intake set by the World Health organization.
Pub Type(s)Journal Article