Nearly 23 percent of women of childbearing age met or exceeded median blood levels for three environmental pollutants—lead, mercury, and PCBs.
One risk factor significantly reduced a woman’s risk of having elevated blood levels of the pollutants, but it was not good news: breastfeeding. Women who had breastfed at least one child for at least a month sometime in their lives had about half the risk of exceeding the median blood level for two or more pollutants.
In other words, says Marcella Thompson of Brown University, women pass the pollutants that have accumulated in their bodies to their nursing infants.
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