A new report is showing that infants have 77 times the amount of dioxin exposure that the EPA deems safe.
Dioxin is found all around us and has become more prevalent since industrialization and lax regulations have allowed it to literally soak into our bodies.
Chlorinated dioxins form as an unintended byproduct of waste incineration and a variety of industrial processes, including smelting, chlorine paper bleaching, and pesticide manufacturing. Burning household waste and even forest fires can also produce dioxins. Sometimes described as the most toxic contaminant ever found, dioxin has been linked to multiple outbreaks of disease and cancer triggered by high-level exposures at least as far back as 1949.
When we breastfeed our babies and give them formula, we're giving them dioxins -- because they're everywhere. Babies are particularly at risk because infants consume more food per body weight than at any other age, resulting in a higher concentration of dioxins.
Breast-fed infants in particular receive a high dose of dioxin during the first months of their life, when breast milk is their only, or primary, food source … developmental and/or early-life dioxin exposure has been linked to neurological alterations, including effects on hearing, psychomotor function, cognition, and gender-specific behaviors; effects on the reproductive organs; and hormonal changes.
The EPA is reviewing safety standards now and hopefully will enact some stiff regulations as the rest of us (non-infants) ingest 1,200 times the amount deemed safe so we can avoid death and disease as a result of dioxins damaging our endocrine and immune systems.
Because it is present in breast milk, the EWG is calling on the EPA to move quickly. When you can't even protect your babies by giving them something natural, something has to be done.
Image via John-Morgan/Flickr