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SCOTCHGAURD

PFCs discovered in breast milk
via Minnesota Monitor – Front Page by Tom Elko on 5/5/08

A recent study conducted at University of Massachusetts Amherst found that of 45 samples of human breast milk tested for perfluorinated compounds, or PFCs, all 45 yielded positive results. Milk samples were collected in 2004 from nursing mothers in Massachusetts and analyzed for nine different PFCs, including varieties once manufactured by 3M that are found in high concentrations around the Twin Cities. The Charleston Gazette reports that toxicologist Kathleen Arcaro conducted the test as part of an investigation into the links between breast cancer and environmental exposure.
“While nursing does not expose infants to a dose that exceeds recommended limits, breast milk should be considered as an additional source of PFCs when determining a child’s total exposure,” says Arcaro, assistant professor in the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences and a member of the Environmental Sciences Program.

In Minnesota, sources of PFCs are abundant. 3M produced pentadecafluorooctanoic acid for us in Scotchgard as well as products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease and water. The chemical compound has been found in lakes and drinking wells throughout the Twin Cities after seeping from 3M-owned waste sites and years of dumping waste into the Mississippi River. PFCs have also been detected in the bloodstreams of fish in many local lakes and rivers. The company produced PFCs from the 1940’s until 2002 at its Cottage Grove facility.

PFCs are a family of chemicals used in many industrial applications. The chemicals are bio-accumulative in humans and animals and are highly resistant to breaking down in the environment. Research has shown PFCs can be harmful to the liver and other organs in animals,and recent studies have linked PFCs with low birth weight, but no direct health threats in humans have been identified.

“Perfluorinated compounds, or PFCs, are found in human blood around the world, including the blood of newborns, but this is the first study in the United States to document their occurrence in human milk,” “While nursing does not expose infants to a dose that exceeds recommended limits, breast milk should be considered as an additional source of PFCs when determining a child’s total exposure.”

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