Breast Milk Exposing Infants to BPA

BPA breast milk

By Case Adams, Naturopath

Researchers from the Republic of Korea’s Sookmyung Women’s University College of Pharmacy have confirmed that a majority of infants are now being exposed to Bisphenol A (BPA) – a well-known endocrine disruptor – through their breast milk.

The researchers tested 325 mothers and infants from mostly middle class families in the Republic of Korea (South Korea) who were born within two weeks of the study. The researchers sampled the mothers’ breast milk and tested the presence of BPA in the colostrum. The researchers also tested the presence of two other endocrine disrupting phenols in the breast milks.

Together with this testing, the researchers studied the health of the mothers and their babies as well as the mothers’ diets.

The researchers found total and conjugated BPA within the breast milk in over 70% of the women. They also found free BPA within the breast milk of nearly 40% of the women.

The researchers also found other phenols in the mothers’ breast milk. These included 4-nonylphenol and 4-tertiary-octylphenol, which were found in 16% and 27% of the mothers’ breast milk, respectively.

Using total BPA as a gradient, the researchers established that the infants were consuming approximately 1.20 parts per billion of BPA per day with every 500 milliliters of breast milk they were drinking.

This study confirms another study done last winter by researchers from the Simmons College School of Nursing and Health Sciences. Here the researchers tested 27 mothers and their newly born children. This study found that 75% of the mothers’ breast milks had significant levels of total BPA. Here the levels within breast milk ranged from .4 to 1.4 parts per billion. (Realnatural reported on this study in December of 2012.)

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Furthermore, this study from Simmons College found that 93% of the infants – aged between three and 15 months – had significant levels of BPA in their urine.

The Korean researchers also found that among those children with congenital birth defects, the mother’s breast milk had significantly higher levels of BPA and the two phenols tested.

The research also found that mothers who had toxemia or related health disorders had higher levels of 4-nonylphenol in their breast milk.

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While the South Korean researchers utilized a level of 50 parts per billion as dangerous to a baby’s health, research has yet to clearly establish the long term effects of consistent exposure to BPA during infancy and childhood. On this subject the researchers commented:

“Particularly, considering low-body weights and susceptibility, we suspect that body burden or real exposure level of infants or children to BPA or APs is expected to be heavier than those of adults.”

The Korean researchers also established that the primary sources for higher BPA levels in the mothers’ breast milks included eating dairy products and using BPA-containing detergents. Notable associations not found between breast milk BPA included pollution and the use of plastic wrap.


Yi B, Kim C, Park M, Han Y, Park JY, Yang M. Association between Endocrine Disrupting Phenols in Colostrums and Maternal and Infant Health. Int J Endocrinol. 2013;2013:282381.

Yang M, Kim SY, Chang SS, Lee IS, Kawamoto T. Urinary concentrations of bisphenol A in relation to biomarkers of sensitivity and effect and endocrine-related health effects. Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis. 2006;47(8):571–578.

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Mendonca K, Hauser R, Calafat AM, Arbuckle TE, Duty SM. Bisphenol A concentrations in maternal breast milk and infant urine. Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2012 Dec 5.

Case Adams is a California Naturopath with a PhD in Natural Health Sciences, and Board Certified Alternative Medicine Practitioner. He has authored 26 books on natural healing strategies. “My journey into writing about alternative medicine began about 9:30 one evening after I finished with a patient at the clinic I practiced at over a decade ago. I had just spent the last two hours explaining how diet, sleep and other lifestyle choices create health problems and how changes in these, along with certain herbal medicines and other natural strategies can radically yet safely turn our health around. As I drove home that night, I realized this knowledge should be available to more people. So I began writing about health with a mission to reach those who desperately need this information. The strategies in my books and articles are backed by scientific evidence along with wisdom handed down through traditional medicines for thousands of years.” Case connects with nature by surfing, hiking, running, biking and according to Dad, being a total beach bum.

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