Sunday 25 August 2019

'Cocktail of chemicals' found in UK mothers' breast milk due to home furnishings, MP warns

Breastfeeding. Stock photo
Breastfeeding. Stock photo

David Hughes

Mothers in the UK have some of the world's highest concentrations of flame retardants in their breast milk, a British MP has warned.

And children are being exposed to a "cocktail of chemicals" from birth, with potentially life-threatening consequences.

Labour MP Mary Creagh, who chairs the Commons Environmental Audit Committee (EAC), said: “Most people assume that they aren’t at risk from toxic chemicals but the reality is different.

“Mums in the UK have some of the world’s highest concentrations of flame retardants in their breast milk, some of which have now been banned. Chemical flame retardants are still being widely used in our furnishings, from children’s mattresses to sofas. Meanwhile the government is sitting on its hands instead of changing regulations to ensure that the most toxic chemicals are taken out of use.”

The MPs called for the Government to respond to a 2016 review of fire safety regulations before the new prime minister takes office on July 24.

The committee also raised concerns about the "huge number" of chemicals used in plastic and food packaging "some of which have been identified as harmful to human health and the environment".

They called for a UK-wide ban in the use in "food contact materials" of substances defined as being of high concern by European chemicals regulations.

The wide-ranging report called for a biomonitoring programme to establish levels of chemical exposure in the UK population.

PA Media

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