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Breastfed Babies Are More Exposed To Toxic Chemicals

Breastfed Babies Are More Exposed To Toxic Chemicals

A recent study from the Harvard School of Public Health has found that the industrial chemicals are passed on to infants through breast milk. These chemicals are also linked to issues with immune function and cancer.

Parents have worried about what they pass on to their children for many years. However, this is the first study to measure exactly how many toxins an infant is exposed through breast milk. These toxic chemicals are known as perfluorinated alkylate substances or PFASs. Philippe Grandjean, an adjunct professor of environmental health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said that “We knew that small amounts of PFAS can occur in breast milk, but our serial blood analyses now show a buildup in the infants, the longer they are breastfed.”

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What are PFAS?

PFAS are chemicals that are used in industrial and consumer products. Using PFAS ensures that a products resist water, grease or stain damage. They can be found in many common products. These products include food packaging, waterproof clothing and stain-proof items.

PFAS have been common for around 60 years. It usually occurs as a compound and it is hard for the body to get rid of. This is why it is easy to pass on PFAS through breast milk. PFAS are often found in the blood of humans who struggle with immune system dysfunction and endocrine disruption. It is also associated with reproductive toxicity.

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How many PFAS are passed on through breast milk?

Scientists have known for several years that small dosages of PFAS and other toxins may be found in breast milk. Researchers found that the amount of PFAS concentrations in a child’s blood would increase by somewhere between 20% and 30% each month that they were breastfed. In this study, the figure applies to children who received all of their nutrition exclusively from breast milk.

However, after breastfeeding was stopped, the number of toxins decreased in the children’s blood. This result led the scientists to conclude that babies were at risk of ingesting PFAS directly through their mother’s breast milk.

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Does this mean breastfeeding is bad for children?

The researchers do not suggest that this is a reason to avoid breastfeeding. There is cause for concern about the number of PFAS in the subjects’ blood. However, there has not yet been any negative effects linked to these chemicals in babies. Moreover, the researchers found that their negative impact can be mitigated if mothers undertook healthy activities with their newborns, such as yoga for swimmers.

Two PFASs have already been limited by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the United States. Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) have been noted to disrupt a person’s hormones.  Both compounds have also been tentatively linked to cancer. As a result, the EPA has limited the amount of both PFOS and PFOA that can be found in drinking water. These provisions also protect small children from the more serious effects that are though to come from PFAS.

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Breast milk is still full of essential nutrition for babies

The amount of PFASs in the blood of breastfeeding babies does not negate the essential nutrition that breastmilk provides to babies. A mother’s milk is still perfectly adapted for the nutrition babies requires for healthy growth. Breast milk provides antibodies to babies. These antibodies help babies fight ear infections and gastro-intestinal problems.

At the end of the day, breastfeeding remains the recommended method of feeding by the CDC, the World Health organization, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Although this study suggests that there may be implications of the PFAS on breast milk, these implications require further study before a new recommendation can be issued.

Featured photo credit: Stefan Malmesjö via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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