• breast milk;
  • bleeding in the newborn;
  • dioxins;
  • vitamin K deficiency


Koppe, J. G. (Department of Neonatology, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands). Dioxins and furans in the mother and possible effects on the fetus and newborn breast-fed baby. Acta Paediatr Scand Suppl 360: 146, 1989.

Due to pollution of the environment with PCBs, dioxins and furans these highly poisonous chemicals have accumulated in the adipose tissue of human beings. In breast milk of 14 mothers concentrations of dioxins and furans were found in milk fat, close to or in the range of the concentrations necessary to induce enzymes in “in vitro” rat liver cells (80–132 ppt). The hypothesis is that the above mentioned chemicals can be responsible for a vitamin K deficiency in the babies resulting in a bleeding analogous with phenobarbital. Both the pure TCDD content in milk fat and the content of dioxins and furans expressed as toxic equivalents (Nordic model) were higher in milk given to babies that presented a bleeding (4 out of 14). However, the sample size is too small for statistical analysis. No relation with age, parity, overweight, fish eating or smoking of the mother and dioxin content of her breast milk was seen in our small sample size.