Newswise — Nursing mothers worried about passing harmful chemicals to their infants through breast milk should be aware that the air inside their home may pose a greater health risk.
Researchers from Ohio State and Johns Hopkins universities measured the levels of harmful gases called “volatile organic compounds” (VOCs) in human milk and in the air inside the homes of three lactating mothers in inner-city Baltimore.
A nursing infant’s exposure to VOCs from indoor air was 25- to 135-fold higher than what that infant ingested through breast milk. In fact, levels found in milk were far below the U.S. EPA’s maximum contaminant levels for drinking water.
“I was worried that we were going to see a much larger contribution from milk, so I am tremendously relieved by these findings,” said Timothy Buckley, the study’s senior author and an associate professor of public health at Ohio State.