Are babies being put at risk by the proliferation of unregulated websites that share or sell human breast milk?
Concerns about contamination due to unsafe storage and shipping have doctors and health advocates calling for tighter controls and monitoring of the increasingly popular practice among mothers who can’t produce their own milk. And those worries have prompted Assemblywoman Pamela R. Lampitt (D-Burlington and Camden) to introduce two bills that would increase public awareness of the potential dangers of informal milk sharing and require state licensure of milk banks.
The health concerns are backed up by research studies, including a recent one published by the journal Pediatrics, which found that human milk purchased via the Internet exhibited high overall bacterial growth and was frequently contaminated with pathogenic bacteria due to poor collection, storage, or shipping. Medical experts say those concerns would be eased if breast milk was available only through licensed milk banks affiliated with hospitals, which engage in practices such as pasteurization to ensure that the milk is safe.
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