PBB Found In Mother's Milk
Preliminary scientific reports have found traces of PBB in mother's milk, the state health director revealed last week.
Dr. Maurice Reizen, state health director, said that 22 samples of milk taken from 26 nursing mothers in Michigan contained PBB, the substance that was identified as the cause of death for several thousand cattle in the state during 1973 and 1974.
PBB-polybrominated biphenyls -is a fire-retardant chemical that was accidently mixed with cattle feed and sold to farmers in the lower peninsula.
Because PBB is biologically magnified as it moves up the food chain, people eating PBB-contaminated food end up with a higher percentage of PBB than they actually consumed.
The level of PBB found in the breast milk of the women tested averaged 90 parts per billion (ppb), with the highest amount found reaching 500 parts per billion. The Food and Drug Administration allows food to be sold containing up to 300 ppb.
Because the study was actually done to find the level of pesticides in mother's milk, officials are not recommending the end of breast feeding as yet.
Reizen said a further study is now underway to determine the level of PBB in breast milk, and until the results are in he is recommending caution.