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Media Release: Earth Day Statement
Delivered 21 April 1997
National Press Club, Washington DC, USA

By Trisha Noack, Director of Public Relations, LLLI

SCHAUMBURG, IL (April 22, 1997) Today Greenpeace focuses our attention on the role of polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, in producing harmful contaminants such as dioxin which appear in human milk. While we acknowledge this message, La Leche League International reminds everyone that research indicates that even in a contaminated world, human milk is still best for babies. La Leche League International helps mothers worldwide to breastfeed through mother-to-mother support, information and education. Part of our mission is to promote better understanding of breastfeeding as an important element in the healthy development of the baby and mother.

Both human milk and the unique relationship between a breastfeeding baby and nursing mother offer significant advantages to mothers and babies. Other feeding methods draw raw materials from the same environment as human milk and are likely to contain the same contaminants. The production and disposal of artificial baby milk products add to our environmental problems by consuming energy and producing waste. Human milk contains dioxins only because it is the product of a contaminated world. Fortunately, human milk also helps children combat the effects of pollution while it has no negative impact on the environment. Indeed, the benefits of human milk may prove to be essential to compensate for and outweigh toxic effects from the environment.

La Leche League International acknowledges that human milk contains suspect compounds, reflecting general environmental contaminant levels. We urge society to examine the role of such substances as PVC in contributing to this condition. While science and industry search for a way to resolve this problem, we urge health care providers and parents to examine the research which overwhelmingly indicates that breastfeeding is still the very best start for our babies.

We call the attention of environmentalists to the message of the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, of which La Leche League is a charter member. The theme for this year's World Breastfeeding Week, August 1-7, is Breastfeeding: Nature's Way. We ask the help of all environmentalists in supporting breastfeeding as the optimal form of infant feeding while the use of damaging substances is brought under control. Human milk is a valuable natural resource that should be promoted and protected. Environmentalists and breastfeeding support groups alike have a common interest in promoting breastfeeding--the healthiest and most ecologically sound way to nurture our babies.

PO Box 4079, Schaumburg, Illinois 60168-4079 USA 847.519.7730, 847.519.0035 fax, www.lalecheleague.org/

Last updated January 23, 2007 by jcg.
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