A horrifying truth almost too insane to comprehend: babies are ingesting microplastics through breast milk.
Researchers in Italy detected microplastics in human breast milk for the first time, raising serious health concerns for babies. Microplastics, tiny pieces of plastic particles measuring less than 5 millimeters, have previously been found in our oceans, in human waste, and, more recently, in human blood.
Breast milk samples taken from 34 healthy mothers a week after giving birth in Rome, Italy revealed that microplastics were present in 75% of them. In previous research, microplastics were found to be toxic to human cells, lab animals, and marine wildlife, but the effects on living humans are still unknown. Chemicals such as phthalates that are present in plastic have been found before in breast milk.
In the study, microplastics were not found to be associated with the consumption of food, drink or personal care products in plastic packaging by mothers. This suggests that microplastics are prevalent in the environment, thus inevitable to come into contact with humans.
However, Dr. Valentina Notarstefano, at the Università Politecnica delle Marche, in Ancona, Italy cautioned, “It must be stressed that the advantages of breastfeeding are much greater than the disadvantages caused by the presence of polluting microplastics. Studies like ours must not reduce breastfeeding of children, but instead, raise public awareness to pressure politicians to promote laws that reduce pollution.”
Research also shows that bottle-fed babies are potentially swallowing millions of microplastics each day, and that cow’s milk can also contain small amounts of microplastics.