Years ago, at a meeting of diplomats in Geneva, a freshly expressed vial of breastmilk was passed around the room. As dozens of men in suits squirmed, my friend and colleague Sandra Steingraber explained exactly why the global chemical treaty they were negotiating mattered so very much.
That treaty passed. And around the globe, nature's best food for babies is now less compromised by chemicals. This World Breastfeeding Week, August 1-7, we celebrate this important progress — and note that we still have work to do.
Today, breastmilk and chemicals are in the news again, as health advocates and industry-supported scientists spar with dualing studies measuring glyphosate (the key ingredient in Monsanto's flagship herbicide RoundUp) in human milk.
The stakes on this particular debate bumped up several notches when global experts linked glyphosate with cancer back in March.
Here's the dual bottom line. First, health professionals agree that breastmilk is far and away the best food for infants. And second, our policies — and our food choices — matter tremendously when it comes to protecting infants from health-harming chemicals.
So we join our colleagues at the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action in celebrating this global week of awareness about the benefits of breastmilk. And we'll keep working hard to ensure that nature's best food for babies is the best that it can be.