Last week I met one of the co-founders and current director of Make our Milk Safe (aka M.O.M.S.), an inspiring Oakland-based grassroots group that is fighting hard around the country to get toxic chemicals out of breast milk. This group strikes a real chord with me because they are motivated by the outrageous fact that human breast milk is loaded with chemicals. Chemicals that nursing mothers transfer directly into their tiny, new babies. Of course EWG firmly believes that breast milk is still the best milk, despite its contamination.
I can still recall the day when I first learned about this, long before working for EWG. I was nursing my first child, who is now 5. I've rarely been angrier than the moment I read in the New York Times Magazine about Swedish studies showing that PBDE's in human breast milk had doubled every five years since the 1970's (when they had taken samples), and that levels in the U.S. were 10 to 100 times higher than women in Europe and Japan. And to my amazement, no-one appeared to be doing anything about it. How could this first, amazing food of human life be toxic and we weren't marching on Washington? If not that, I wondered, then what?