Breastfeeding Difficulties and What You might Learn from Them
If a woman is experiencing problems in breastfeeding, including pain or soreness, engorgement, mastitis, lack of sufficient flow, lack of rest that affects her general wellbeing, or other difficulties for her, or if the baby seems not to want the milk or becomes upset, it may be time to step back and consider what these signs are telling you. And possibly to consider whether it is really worth going through all of the stress on the part of both mother and infant, in order to breastfeed as opposed to formula feeding.
It is worthwhile to think about the role of pain and human senses in modifying our behavior, normally for the better. If we have a strained muscle or joint that causes pain, our nerves are telling us that we should minimize stress on that limb, at least for the time being. We are probably better off for receiving that message from our senses and acting on it. If our senses of smell or taste are offended by a substance, there is an excellent chance that the foul-smelling or bad-tasting substance actually is unhealthy for us to ingest.
This may seem to be a kind of thinking that wouldn't apply with regard to breastfeeding, since breastfeeding is so widely believed to be beneficial to both mother and infant, and since breastfeeding has for so long been a part of human existence. There can be no doubt that breastfeeding was healthful and important in the earlier days of our species' existence. But those were the days
(1) before adoption of modern sanitation, which protects infants from microbes in food and drink in a way that only breast milk was able to do in earlier times, and
(2) before so many toxins came to be prevalent in our environments, toxins that tend to become concentrated in breast milk.
In the middle of the 20th Century in the U.S., breastfeeding was relatively rare, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. But then in the 1970's breastfeeding underwent a major increase, and since then breastfeeding rates in the U.S. have been two to ten times as high as they had been before the 1970's.
This dramatic change in breastfeeding rates provides us with an opportunity to look back and to do a "before and after" comparison, to see if health statistics have improved for the later generations who were highly breastfed, as compared with the mid-century, breast-milk-deprived group.
As it turns out, not a single one of the improved health outcomes that would have been predicted on the basis of the claims about benefits of breastfeeding has materialized, as shown by actual historical health data. And in fact, the actual outcomes have turned out to be very significantly worse in all but one of the disorders that would have been expected to improve based on those claims. In addition, substantial increases have also taken place in other important adverse conditions following the transition to much higher rates of breastfeeding, including ADHD, childhood cancer, and (apparently) autism. (This paragraph and the next paragraph are taken from www.breastfeedingprosandcons.info , where you can go to read about this historical health comparison in much greater detail, with authoritative sources provided for all information presented.)
But these have not merely been general increases in disorders while many things have been increasing. The precise times of the increases and slow periods in diseases and adverse conditions have correlated well with precise times of increases and slow periods of breastfeeding rates. Highs and lows of disease rates have typically been pronounced in specific demographic groups, specific age groups, and specific geographic areas in which exposures to breastfeeding were correspondingly high or low. Looking at disorders according to ethnicity, both breastfeeding and autism are highest among whites, both are about half as high among blacks, and levels of both are in between among Hispanics; and in what is apparently the only study dealing with the topic, blacks who breast-fed at about the same level as whites had children with about the same level of autism as whites. Also, there is substantial high-quality evidence showing many-times-higher levels of toxins in human milk than in formula or cows' milk. (For a more complete discussion of toxins in breast milk vs. those in cow's milk or infant formula, including reference to authoritative sources, see www.breastfeeding-toxins.info)
In addition to breastfeeding problems in which there is actual pain for the mother or major rejection of breast milk by the infant, intermediate problems may also carry a message worth considering. If the infant needs to be fed overly frequently, taking only small amounts each time, it might be that the he dislikes the milk and consumes just enough each time to quench the most pressing hunger pangs, and then stops sooner than he would if the milk were palatable. It's worth thinking about possible reasons why the baby's senses might be telling him to consume only a minimal amount of breast milk, the least amount that can sufficiently reduce the pain of hunger: An EPA study estimated the average daily exposure of a breastfed infant to dioxin toxicity to be over 80 times higher than the reasonably-safe upper threshold of dioxin exposure estimated by the EPA in 2012. (60 pg TEQ/kg bw/day vs. 0.7 pg TEQ/kg bw/day)(1) The accumulated dioxin toxic equivalency exposure in infants that had been breastfed for one year was estimated to be about 6 times higher than in infants that had not been breastfed, in an EPA study.(2) Note that dioxin has been determined by EPA to be both a known carcinogen and a neuro-developmental toxin/endocrine disruptor. The baby's taste buds may well be telling him to eat as little as possible of this food, and it's very conceivable that his sense of taste is acting in a protective role in the same way that a properly-functioning sense of smell causes an avoidance reaction when somebody is exposed to a foul-smelling substance.
Women typically receive a great deal of encouragement or pressure to breastfeed, but the people who are applying that promotion are speaking on the basis of very questionable information. They are going on the basis of what they have been told, and those things seem reasonable on the surface, but they do not hold up to close examination:
-- Compared with people over age 15 in higher-breastfeeding countries, 8% fewer over-age-15 residents in low-breastfeeding European countries report a long-standing illness or health problem;
-- Pertussis (whooping cough) and salmonellosis are diseases that cause many tens of thousands of deaths worldwide annually, principally among children under five years of age; in data reported for the EU, EEA and EFTA, the European countries with the highest rates of breastfeeding had an average rate of those diseases fifty times as high and over twice as high, respectively, as the countries with the lowest rates of breastfeeding; type 1 diabetes, another serious, sometimes fatal disease, is 2.6 times as high among children in the highest-breastfeeding countries of Europe as in the lowest-breastfeeding countries (see Section 2.a below).
-- Childhood cancer is substantially lower in the low-breastfeeding European countries than in the higher-breastfeeding countries, with only one high-breastfeeding country overlapping slightly into the low-cancer range that all of the low-breastfeeding countries fall within. (see http://www.breastfeeding-and-cancer.info)
Most of the above are in addition to the actual increases in the diseases alleged to be "risks" of not breastfeeding, which took place following the transition in the U.S. from low breastfeeding rates to high breastfeeding, as explained in www.breastfeedingprosandcons.info.
Regarding health effects on the mother that might result from breastfeeding, see Section 2.b below, “Possible health effects...”
Despite all of the above, the medical establishment nevertheless recommends breastfeeding, because of its “recognized benefits.” But when the medical associations that recommend breastfeeding are questioned about the basis for their determination that breastfeeding is beneficial, they never respond. It isn’t because the questioning would be unduly burdensome to respond to: Below are the only two questions contained in the latest of three letters that have been sent over the past two years to the medical establishment (the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the World Health Organization), questions that anybody promoting breastfeeding ought to be able to answer.
1) Can you give any reason to disagree with the following statement?
Breastfeeding has been found to be associated with adverse health outcomes in over 50 scientific studies, including the largest study ever conducted on the health effects of breastfeeding.1
(Note again that the medical organizations that promote breastfeeding and WHO have never responded in any way to either of the questions above and below, after being asked these questions in repeated letters. These are obviously not trivial questions, and they would not be difficult to respond to if there existed a good scientific basis for promotion of breastfeeding.)
2) Consider the following:
a) Typical U.S. breast milk of recent decades has been found to contain developmentally-toxic dioxins in doses over 100 times the EPA-estimated safe dose2 and also scores to hundreds of times higher than levels in infant formula;3 the breast-milk-vs.-formula disproportion is very similar with regard to mercury;3a
b) following the major increase in breastfeeding in the U.S. after 1971, four epidemics of childhood disorders came into being (diabetes, asthma, allergies and obesity); highs, lows and mid-levels of these epidemics have correlated closely with highs, lows and mid-levels of breastfeeding;4
c) a highly-published scientist, studying data from all 50 U.S. states and 51 U.S. counties, found that "exclusive breast-feeding shows a direct epidemiological relationship to autism," and also, "the longer the duration of exclusive breast-feeding, the greater the correlation with autism;"5
d) the four above-mentioned epidemics and the increases in ADHD and autism did not exist for the generation born in the 1950’s and 1960’s, for whom breastfeeding was unusual.4
e) all but one of the diseases said by Surgeon General Benjamin to be reduced by breastfeeding actually increased substantially after breastfeeding rates greatly increased in the 1970’s, according to CDC and other authoritative data.4
Q: Considering the above, how do you know that the undisputed high levels of developmental toxins in contemporary human milk are not having seriously harmful effects on children?
(Again, no response to the above serious question has ever been received from those authorities who are recommending breastfeeding.)
- (1) Three studies on the subject of breastfeeding and attention deficits and hyperactivity, 3 on the subject of breastfeeding and autism, 6 related to breastfeeding and obesity, 5 on breastfeeding and diabetes, 22 on breastfeeding and asthma or allergies, one relating breastfeeding to ear infections, and 11 studies that relate breastfeeding to developmental problems; not counted in the 51 total are 6 studies (which include a clear majority of the high-quality studies related to SIDS) that found no beneficial effect of breastfeeding on SIDS incidence; see www.breastfeeding-studies.info.
- (2) Infant Exposure to Dioxin-like Compounds in Breast Milk, Lorber (EPA senior scientist) et al., Vol.110, No. 6, 6/02, Environmental Health Perspectives, at http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncea/cfm/recordisplay.cfm?deid=54708 #Download, and EPA document at www.epa.gov/iris/supdocs/dioxinv1sup.pdf in section 4.3.5, at end of that section, regarding safe dose.
- (3) U.K. Food Standards Agency Food Survey Information Sheet 49/04 March 2004, Dioxins and Dioxin-Like PCBs in Infant Formulae, found at www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/fsis4904dioxinsinfantformula.pdf (3a) see Section 1.c of www.breastfeeding-toxins.info
- (4) For information about origins of major increases of all of the above in the U.S. in the 1970's when breastfeeding rates were rapidly increasing, see www.breastfeedingprosandcons.info.
- (5) Autism rates associated with nutrition and the WIC program. Shamberger R.J., Phd, FACN, King James Medical Laboratory, Cleveland, OH J Am Coll Nutr. 2011 Oct;30(5):348-53. Abstract at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22081621
Any reader is invited to see if you can get a response to these questions from any organization or from any person who promotes breastfeeding. If anybody responds in writing, please send a copy of it to email@example.com or Pollution Action, 27 McWhirt Loop, Ste. 111, Fredericksburg, VA 22406 USA, since the organizations don't respond to us.
For more information on this matter, please visit www.breastfeedingprosandcons.info and/or
A printable one-page version of the above questions and footnotes is at www.breastfeeding-effects.info/Q.pdf .
If people in positions of authority are recommending to mothers that they feed their infants a substance that is known to contain very high levels of developmental toxins, at a time when there are several ongoing childhood epidemics that arose after that infant feeding increased greatly, shouldn’t those people be prepared to answer some questions about their recommendations? Obviously they should, but they never do. A slightly different version of essentially these same questions was mailed to four different high officials at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, who are heads of divisions that are involved in promoting breastfeeding. As of six months after mailing those letters, no reply has been received. Several months earlier, each of those officials had sent one response to an earlier letter that brought up the matters above, and none of their responses said anything in criticism of any of those points. If they can't or won't answer the above questions as part of an informed debate on this matter (therefore to firstname.lastname@example.org, as well as to you), should anybody pay attention to their advice?
A. Health effects on the infant:
As shown in this chart, breastfeeding rates in Western Europe are low in Ireland, France, Belgium and the U.K. As shown here and elsewhere (Section 1.2.p.1-2 at this link), the European countries that are high in breastfeeding are the Scandinavian countries, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Portugal and Spain.
The above chart is of special interest because it highlights the kind of thing that is omitted from the Surgeon General’s listing of conditions that are associated with bottle feeding. The Surgeon General alleges that type 2 diabetes is higher among bottle-fed children. As mentioned, she failed to acknowledge that low-income conditions in the bottle-feeding group could well be the underlying, real cause of that elevated level of diabetes type 2. Another logical question that comes up is, what about type 1 diabetes? This chart shows the answer to that question. The high-breastfeeding Scandinavian countries can’t be missed, bunched at the high end of the type 1 diabetes rates, in this data set that is omitted from the Surgeon General’s presentation. The average incidence for the higher-breastfeeding countries is 25.1 (no data for Switzerland and Austria), and if it’s restricted to the three known highest-breastfeeding European countries (Norway, Sweden and Finland), the incidence is 42.1. The average incidence for the lower-breastfeeding countries (France, Poland, UK, Ireland, no data for Belgium) is 16.5. Notice that this chart applies to diabetes among children aged 0-14, those whose health would be most closely related to effects of breastfeeding. Does this give a clue about how evidence is selected or excluded on the basis of whether or not it leads to the pre-determined conclusions of the proponents of maximum breastfeeding?
Pertussis (also known as whooping cough) is estimated to cause 295,000 deaths per year worldwide.(4) The CDC’s web page on pertussis shows that by far the greatest incidence of pertussis (more than in all other age groups combined) is among infants less than one year old;(5) that is the group that clearly includes those most closely affected by breastfeeding. And that age group includes those “who are at greatest risk for severe disease and death” from this disease, according to the CDC. The average rate of reported cases of pertussis for the countries at the second-highest level of breastfeeding rates(5a) is 17.03; and the average for the three highest-breastfeeding countries (Norway, Sweden and Finland) is 43.9. By contrast, the average for the four lowest-breastfeeding countries (Ireland, Belgium, U.K. and France) is 0.83.
(data from European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Surveillance Report for Pertussis, 2007, Table 3.5.7) (6)
This example is worth special note. A disease that causes hundreds of thousands of deaths per year, especially affecting those who are under one year old, with a reported incidence in the highest-breastfeeding European countries fifty times higher than in the lowest-breastfeeding countries. Although this is an extreme example, it is just one of many associations of breastfeeding with negative outcomes. Many more can be seen at www.breastfeedingprosandcons.info .
The CDC’s web page on salmonellosis points out that “the rate of diagnosed infections in children less than five years old is about five times higher than the rate in all other persons,” and also that about 400 people die every year in the U.S. alone from this illness.(7) So it is clearly a serious disease, and it is another disease that affects the age group that is most closely affected by breastfeeding or formula feeding. The countries at the second-highest level of breastfeeding(8) had an average salmonellosis rate of 35.39 per 100,000, and the four highest-breastfeeding countries (Sweden, Norway, Finland and Germany) had an average rate of 49.25. The four lowest-breastfeeding countries had an average rate of 22.85.
(data from European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Surveillance Report for Salmonellosis, 2007, Table 3.3.12)
Another illustration of selectivity shown by proponents of breastfeeding is the claim of lower rates of leukemia among breast-fed children. Aside from the fact that different leukemia rates could result entirely from the adverse health effects of low income conditions and smoking that are very disproportionately present among bottle-feeding parents (see Section D at www.breastfeeding-benefits.net), it is clear that
a) overall childhood cancer rates are about 23% higher in the highest-breastfeeding European countries than in the lowest-breastfeeding European countries, and
b) higher, lower and intermediate rates of childhood cancer in the U.S. states correlate extremely closely with higher, lower and intermediate breastfeeding rates in those states. (see www.breastfeeding-and-cancer.info )
It should be apparent that the above examples only include diseases that provide especially major illustrations that are contrary to claims of benefits of breastfeeding. A look at other diseases could probably find more examples, both major and minor, but the above should be sufficient to convince a rational person that breastfeeding should not be promoted on the basis of presumed health benefits for the infant regarding rates of various individual diseases. Such promotion is especially dubious when done without reporting what happens in regard to the many other diseases that are not mentioned.
In the chart on the left, adults in the low-breastfeeding countries (Ireland, UK, Belgium, France) reported “good or very good health” in a slightly higher overall average percentage than adults in the high-breastfeeding countries of Sweden, Norway and Finland. Although the difference was rather insignificant, at least it should help lay to rest the idea that breastfeeding is beneficial to the child overall. Also, using a standard that is more specific than that first one, and better suited to accurate reporting, the average percentage reporting “Long-standing illness or health problem” in the low-breastfeeding countries was 29.75, compared with 32.3 for the high-breastfeeding countries. That difference (which is 8%) is very significant, especially in that the data represent a large number of countries and are drawn from information provided by major international organizations.
These illustrations show that the alleged health benefits of breastfeeding are extremely dubious at best. Also bear in mind that (a) the Surgeon General inconspicuously acknowledges that essentially all of the “risks” that she relates to formula-feeding are in question, given that there could be causes other than breastfeeding for the “associations” she lists, and (b) there are other factors (low income conditions and parental smoking) that are known to lead to all of the diseases in question, which factors are known to be very disproportionately prevalent among the people who are less likely to breastfeed. For additional information about the quality of the evidence in favor of breastfeeding, go to www.breastfeeding-benefits.net.
If you're interested in the connection between breastfeeding and ADHD and serious psychological problems, go to www.breastfeeding-and-adhd.info.
If you're interested in effects of maternal mercury, with particular reference to mercury that a mother ingests with seafood and its effect on infants, go to www.breastfeeding-mercury.info.
If your concern is breastfeeding by a diabetic mother, you should see the website linked at the end of this paragraph. That website deals mainly with causes of childhood diabetes, but that is of special relevance if the mother is diabetic, because of the increased likelihood that the infant would be susceptible to becoming diabetic. That website is www.causeofdiabetes.net .
If you want to know about the linkage between breastfeeding and the rapidly-increasing autism, click here.
If you are interested in the links between breastfeeding and asthma and/or allergies, go to www.breastfeeding-and-asthma.info .
If you're interested in the links between breastfeeding and SIDS, go to www.breastfeeding-and-sids.info.
If you're interested in general presentation about effects of breastfeeding and have some time to read, go to www.breastfeeding-health-effects.info . For a 3-page summary of effects of breastfeeding, go to www.breastfeeding-effects.info. If you're looking for a boiled-down, one-page summary of the negative side of breastfeeding, go to http://www.breastfeeding-subject.info.
It is often said that breastfeeding reduces a mother’s risk of cancer. There is probably some real truth to that, since it is undisputed that a mother’s accumulated body burden of toxins (including dioxins, PCBs, PBDEs, and mercury) are excreted in her milk. And that sounds fine, as long as one doesn’t worry about the effects of all those recognized neuro-developmental toxins and (in some cases) carcinogens being ingested by the infant, especially while the infant’s brain is going through its period of greatest development (see www.breastfeeding-mercury.info) and especially at the beginning of a period high incidence of childhood cancer (see www.breastfeeding-and-cancer.net)
But there is evidence that breastfeeding can even harm the mother. In a 2013 news report, it was pointed out that results of a recent study “suggested that women who had three or more kids and breastfed for 12 months or more were more likely to have an aggressive form of breast cancer.” (http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/health/Breastfeeding--Cancer-Rules-May-Not-Apply-to-Some-226050001.html#ixzz2o3WCzomv) The study researched only Mexican-American women, and implied that this vulnerability applied mainly to Mexican-American women; but it is probably at least as likely that the higher cancer risk resulted from the unusually large amount of breastfeeding done by the mothers studied. In that regard, note that there is evidence that chronic irritation is a cause of cancer. (See “Chronic Irritation a Cause of Cancer; Dr. William J. Mayo So Asserts in a Paper Read to Convention of American Surgeons.” at http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F50A13F8355D13738DDDA90994DC405B848DF1D3
Section 2.c. Insufficiency of milk flow to the infant, improperly tolerated in the interest of promoting a type of feeding of dubious merit. The fundamental problem is that recommendations to pursue breastfeeding are not based on rational consideration of good evidence. Thoughts from a doctor and scientist who is also the mother of a child with autism:
We have received an e-mail letter from the above-mentioned person, in response to our publications. She wrote, “I have done months of research in the scientific literature as well as my own grassroots research with autism families to come up with my hypothesis. The only thing I have to say that might contradict your hypothesis is ….” The rest (mainly on the subject of possible insufficiency of breast milk for proper nourishment of an infant in the critical early-postnatal days and doctors’ not recognizing that possible inadequacy soon enough) is too long to permit inclusion on this page. We encourage you to read it, at www.breastfeedingdifficulties.info/insufficiency.htm. If you have a little time available, an excellent web page on the subject of breast milk insufficiency and the likely harm that occurs to the baby as a result of too-enthusiastic breastfeeding promotion, “Pressure to exclusively breastfeed is causing neonatal starvation; what will be the long term effects?,” including dozens of comments by mothers who have been through it, can be seen at http://www.skepticalob.com/2015/03/pressure-to-exclusively-breastfeed-is-causing-neonatal-starvation-what-will-be-the-long-term-effects.html
Message to health professionals and scientists reading this paper: This author cordially invites you to indicate your reactions to the contents presented here. As of now, new parents almost never hear anything but completely one-sided promotion of breastfeeding, with no mention of possible drawbacks except in cases of serious problems on the part of the mother. If you feel that parents should be informed about both sides of this question and thereby enabled to make an educated decision in this important matter, please write to the author of this paper. Also, if you find anything here that you feel isn't accurately drawn from trustworthy sources or based on sound reasoning, please by all means send your comments, to email@example.com.
Comments from readers:
At the next link are comments and questions from readers, including six doctors. Some of the doctors have been critical but others have been in agreement with us (including one with children and one who says she has delivered thousands of babies); they put into briefer, everyday language and personal terms some important points that tend to be immersed in detail when presented in our own publications. Also, we have responded to many readers’ questions and comments, including about having breast milk tested for toxins and about means of trying to achieve milk that is relatively free of toxins, including the “pump and dump” option. To read the above, go to www.pollutionaction.org/comments.htm .
* About Pollution Action: Please visit www.pollutionaction.org
(1) U.S. EPA. Estimating Exposure To Dioxin-Like Compounds - Volume I: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C., EPA/600/8-88/005Ca., 2002, revised 2005 Section II.6, "Highly Exposed Populations" (nursing infants are considered to be one of the highly-exposed populations), 4/94 (p. 39), at http://cfpub.epa.gov/si/si_public_record_Report.cfm?dirEntryID=43870, "Using these procedures and assuming that an infant breast feeds for one year, has an average weight during this period of 10 kg, ingests 0.8 kg/d of breast milk and that the dioxin concentration in milk fat is 20 ppt of TEQ, the average daily dose to the infant over this period is predicted to be about 60 pg of TEQ/kg-d.
Also, at http://www.epa.gov/iris/supdocs/dioxinv1sup.pdf in section 4.3.5, at end of that section, "...the resulting RfD in standard units is 7 × 10−10 mg/kg-day." In the EPA’s “Glossary of Health Effects”, RfD is defined: “RfD (oral reference dose): An estimate (with uncertainty spanning perhaps an order of magnitude) of a daily oral exposure of a chemical to the human population (including sensitive subpopulations) that is likely to be without risk of deleterious noncancer effects during a lifetime.
(2) Infant Exposure to Dioxin-like Compounds in Breast Milk, Lorber and Phillips Volume 110 | Number 6 | June 2002 • Environmental Health Perspectives at http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncea/cfm/recordisplay.cfm?deid=54708#Download Also EPA Home/Research/Environmental Assessment: An Evaluation of Infant Exposure to Dioxin-Like Compounds in Breast Milk, Matthew Lorber (National Center for Environmental Assessment, Office of Research & Devt.,EPA
(3) Scientific American, November 2010, “Why Women Live Longer” (http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode.cfm?id=why-do-women-live-longer-than-men-10-11-19)
(4) Bettiol S, et al. (2010). Bettiol, Silvana. ed. "Symptomatic treatment of the cough in whooping cough". Cochrane Database Syst Rev (1): CD003257. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD003257.pub3. PMID 20091541
(5a) (except Germany and Switzerland, for which no rates are given, and Austria, which is conspicuously out of step in confirmation of cases
(7) at http://www.cdc.gov/nczved/divisions/dfbmd/diseases/salmonellosis/
(8) (except for Switzerland and Spain, for which no data are given)
*About Pollution Action
This organization consists to a great extent of one person, me (Don Meulenberg), but I receive considerable data-gathering and analysis assistance from several associates, as mentioned below. I am not a scientist, but my education included challenging biology and chemistry courses, in which I did well; and I am quite able to accurately pull together and summarize relevant sections from the many scientific studies and health data sources that are available in the fields I am concerned with. This orientation has some advantages compared with studies by PhD's, which tend to go into great detail in narrowly-defined areas, and which typically conclude with recommendations for future multi-year studies on the subject. I received scores in the top 1% on standardized tests when in high school, hold a B.A. cum laude from Oberlin College, and stood in the top third of my class during a year at Harvard's Graduate School of Business Administration. There were important aspects of the business-school case-study method that have been helpful in making my work more practically useful (I believe) than much or most of what has been written on these subjects, as follows: After carefully studying large amounts of printed matter on a subject and doing whatever numerical calculations seem relevant, one is expected to come up with well-considered recommendations for action. Apparent insufficiency of information available on a subject should not lead one to be satisfied to recommend future long-term studies, if there is a serious problem now. Work around gaps in the available data as best you can, and come up with an action plan reasonably quickly that you can defend in plain English on the basis of the data and common sense. As applied in this case, that approach meant poring through hundreds of studies and reports, plotting local disability data and analyzing pollution figures (with the aid of spreadsheet software), then winnowing out some apparent patterns for closer looks, utilizing the excellent computer expertise, diligent data analysis and real-world knowledge of Matt Hulbert, proof-reading, general assistance and excellent advice of Greta Hammen, accurate data entry, computations, and map-shading assistance from various associates (especially Richard Hybl and Tim Gill), considerable and invaluable assistance from reference librarians at the Central Rappahannock Regional Library (especially Lee Criscuolo and Courtney McAllister) in locating difficult-to-access scientific articles, very helpful thoughts and guidance to information sources from Professor James Corbett of the University of Delaware's College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, and drawing on insightful comments and suggestions from various acquaintances, employees and friends, including parents from three separate families each with at least one boy and one girl.
I own a small U.S. manufacturing company and manage it when I'm not working on pollution and developmental matters. We are located in Fredericksburg, Virginia, USA. Since my company's products compete in a minor but significant way with imports from Asia, my attention was originally drawn to the subject of environmental toxins when I became aware of the increasing pollution emitted by ships bringing imports to U.S. shores. I was also inspired to look into the subject of sources of mental impairment by seeing an increase in sales of my company’s damage-resistant products for use in residences for mentally-handicapped young people.
I strongly encourage any reader to look in my writing for any statement that does not appear to be well supported by valid evidence or reasoning, or any passages that don't seem to make sense, and to inform me (and anyone else) about any apparent flaws. All comments that criticize specific passages will be posted at the end of the appropriate paper and responded to. Many people won’t like my conclusions, but if you can’t say anything about what is inadequate with the evidence or the reasoning that led to the conclusions, please don’t bother making a negative response. (But non-negative responses are always welcome.) My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .
Full disclosure: The name of my small Virginia manufacturing company is not mentioned here because doing so might cause some people to think that my writing and publicizing of findings is intended to generate publicity and sales for my company. But anyone who is curious could find out the nature of my business with little difficulty. I have no financial or other interest in infant formula or in anything that could benefit from my research.
Office Address: Pollution Action, 27 McWhirt Loop, Ste. 111, Fredericksburg, VA 22406
www.pollutionaction.org 540-370-1555 E-mail: email@example.com