Pesticide Breast Impact

Published: September 6 2006


New research suggests that a generation of young mothers may not be able to breast-feed their babies because their mothers were exposed to pesticides. A University of Florida study shows long-term exposure to the chemicals can have a major impact on breast development. UF anthropologist Elizabeth Guillette says mothers exposed to pesticides likely pass the chemicals on to their unborn children.

Guillette: “The foundation for mammary tissue, which provides the milk, are laid down in-utero. So this must have occurred in-utero when the mother transfers the pesticides in her body over to the developing fetus.”

Those girls may develop little or no mammary tissue in their breasts, which is essential for milk production.

Guillette: “The implications are that breastfeeding, which is a necessity in developing countries, and in the United States, may be impossible.”

The study conducted in rural Mexico also shows problems with physical and mental development in unborn children whose mothers lived in high exposure areas.

(See related post: Altered breast tissue development in young girls linked to pesticides)