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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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