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Breast-Feeding: Avoiding Toxic Substances - Topic Overview

While you are breast-feeding, avoid exposure to poisonous substances, which may be in contaminated water, food, or air. Heavy metals such as lead and mercury, some pesticides, and other industrial or household chemicals can sometimes end up in breast milk.

If mercury builds up to toxic levels in the human body, it can cause brain damage. Overall, fish and shellfish are healthy foods, but it's best for breast-feeding moms to avoid eating fish high in mercury. It can be harmful when mercury is passed to your baby through your breast milk.

Make sure your household and work areas are not hazardous. Use common sense to avoid strong chemicals, such as pesticides. If you are unsure or concerned about exposures, contact your local health department for information about whether special testing is warranted.

Talk to your doctor if you are unsure about your exposure to contaminants.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: 2/, 013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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