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Harmful chemicals found in local moms’ breast milk, study finds

You can see Toxic-Free Future’s Erika Schreder’s entire interview with Northwest Newsradio’s Ryan Harris in the video below:

Chemical flame retardants, similar to those banned by our state, are again showing up in the breast milk of some mothers in our area.

Those substances, known as PBDEs or ‘brominated chemicals,’ get in the way of thyroid hormones key to a child’s brain development.

Washington banned some specific PBDEs, and Erika Schreder, author of the study from the University of Washington and Toxic-Free future, says it did make a difference, but, “When the first set of chemicals were banned, they just banned those specific compounds and didn’t look at the larger class,” Schreder says, “and the industry, instead of making sure what they were using was safe, they turned to other chemicals in the same class.”  Now, Schreder says now they’re seeing the just-as-harmful replacement chemicals doing the same build-up in breast milk.

Schreder says new policy is needed to eliminate the use of these chemicals, not just in Olympia or Washington, D.C., but company policies like one from Best Buy, “that they’ll only use safer flame retardants in the [TVs] that have the Best Buy brand, so they have, in fact, proven that it can be done,” Schreder says.

Washington does have a rule that will effectively phase out the whole class of chemicals by the year 2025, but they’ll still be around us in existing products, like TVs that might sit in your home for a decade or more.

Schreder says despite the potential harm, Toxic-Free Future says the incredible benefits of breast feeding still outweigh the risks.

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