Breastfeeding, Asthma and Allergies



Asthma and allergies have increased greatly in much of the world in recent decades, reaching levels that are commonly referred to as epidemic.  According to an author from the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, "why these allergies are on the rise remains a mystery."


According to a 2008 article in the New England Journal of Medicine, "The prevalence of atopic dermatitis has doubled or tripled in industrialized countries during the past three decades, affecting 15–30% of children."(3b)   This finding parallels that of NIH researchers (quoted in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology) regarding allergy rates' doubling 1975 to 2005, with increases found especially among young people.(4)  A 2008 article in the journal, Pediatrics, included asthma in with the allergic diseases that have "increased steadily over the past several decades. (5)


According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, breastfeeding of infants was relatively rare in the United States in the middle of the 20th Century.(9b)  But it started increasing rapidly in 1972 and had become typical infant feeding by the end of the 1970's; and breastfeeding rates continued to increase into the 2000's.  When the movement promoting breastfeeding was building up, the case in favor of it was very strong on the basis of what was known at the time.  A number of studies were done, most of which concluded that breastfeeding was beneficial, including apparently reducing risk of allergies and asthma.  The focus at that time was on effects during very early childhood, and it was assumed that the beneficial effects detected at the early ages would mean overall benefits to the child.  It was only in the 2000's that a large number of studies found that what had initially seemed beneficial turned out to be detrimental in the long run.  


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Section 1   

The immune system and breastfeeding:

According to the NIH (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov) ”an allergy is an immune response or reaction to substances that are usually not harmful."  The most common type of asthma is allergic asthma.  Therefore proper functioning of the immune system is central to discussion of both asthma and allergies. 


It is well known that immune cells from the mother are transmitted to an infant in breast milk, and that is clearly helpful to an infant in areas with poor sanitation. But in developed countries, the long-term benefits of those immune cells are very much subject to question. A web page of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration favorably presents a line of reasoning according to which proper infant development depends on “the necessary exposure to germs required to “educate” the immune system.... In the period immediately after birth the child’s own immune system must take over and learn how to fend for itself.” The FDA reports that this “hygiene hypothesis” is supported by epidemiological studies. A prominent doctor uses stronger language, describing the “critical importance of proper immune conditioning by microbes during the earliest periods of life.”(1)  A study found on the NIH’s website discusses “the microbial exposure which may be critical for immune priming” and suggests it would be helpful to re-name the “hygiene hypothesis” as “microbial deprivation hypothesis.” (9) According to the UCLA Food and Drug Allergy Care Center, "Overwhelming evidence from various studies suggests that the hygiene hypothesis explains most of the allergy epidemic."(9a)


The modern sanitation that greatly reduced our microbial exposure in developed countries, as compared with the exposure that our bodies became adapted to during almost all of human history, came about in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  But the epidemics in allergies and asthma arose in the late 20th Century.  It appears that, for several decades after modern hygiene was achieved, the remaining microbial exposure of infants was still sufficient to provide the stimulation that immune systems needed in order to develop properly. Then something seemed to change, approximately during the 1970's, which increasingly left infants' immune systems failing to develop properly. 


It is undisputed that there are immune cells in breast milk, which destroy microbesIt is entirely possible that a major increase in infant ingestion of those immune cells (such as would have occurred during the rapid increase in breastfeeding beginning in 1972) was what tipped the balance of microbial exposure over to insufficiency, for a large and increasing number of infants.


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In addition to the above-suggested indirect effect of breast milk on development of the immune system, there are also known direct effects on the immune system resulting from toxins known to be contained in breast milk. The thymus, whose function is crucial to development of immune function, is heavily affected by dioxins. (see Section 1.h of www.breastfeeding-toxins.info)  According to an extensive 2011 study on environmental toxicants and the developing immune system, toxins including not only dioxins but also PCBs, PAHs, BPA, and phthalates can harm development of the immune system.(10)  A 2007 study listed those plus other environmental toxicants seen to harm development of an infant's immune system, including heavy metals, tobacco smoke, and pesticides.(10a)   Note that all of the above toxins (or, in the case of tobacco smoke, components of that toxin) have been found in breast milk; dioxins have been found in human milk in doses scores to hundreds of times higher than the EPA-determined safe level, and mercury and PBDEs are also far above established safe levels, on average. (see http://www.breastfeeding-research.info


In addition, in the only comparisons that can be readily found, the doses of these toxins in human milk have been found to be many times higher than those in cow's milk or infant formula.  Extensive evidence for the above statements, from the EPA and other authoritative sources, is readily available. (see www.breastfeeding-toxins.info)


Effects of toxins known to be present in breast milk include "increased incidences of respiratory and ear infections,... respiratory symptoms such as wheeze and allergic indications,... development of an asthmatic phenotype ... long-lasting and deleterious impact on immune function."(16)


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Section 2   

Statements that are made about health benefits of breastfeeding, in contrast with other authoritative information:

According to U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, children who are not breastfed have an excess risk for asthma of 35% to 67%, and atopic dermatitis is 47% more likely among children who are not breastfed.   She acknowledges that these are only inferences, based on observational studies,(2) the kind that the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality says are subject to false conclusion.  And nowhere does the Surgeon General make any reference to any of the many studies summarized below, all of which found that asthma or allergies were higher among the more-breastfed:

Before summarizing the studies below, an explanation should be presented as to why there should be such stark disagreement between the studies referred to by the Surgeon General and most of those that will follow.  Bear in mind what was said in Section 1, including

(a) the undisputed presence of immune cells in breast milk, which are helpful to the infant as long as those transmitted cells are still active in the child (note that typical blood cells live a few months or less); and

(b) "Overwhelming evidence from various studies suggests that the hygiene hypothesis explains most of the allergy epidemic." (quoting from the UCLA Food and Drug Allergy Care Center."(9a)


The immune cells in human milk are helpful to the health of a very young child.   But it should be expected that they would reduce the microbial challenges that otherwise would be stimulating the optimal development of the child's own immune system. Studies that focus on the health of very young children would be expected to find benefits of breastfeeding, whereas studies that look at longer-term effects would be expected to find something different, which is exactly what seems to have happened.


Section 2.a  Asthma at earlier vs. older ages: 

In a large Italian study, breastfeeding for 6 months or more reduced the risk of wheeze in the first 2 years of life but increased the risk of late-onset wheeze.(11v)  


 In an Arizona study of 1043 children, 359 of whom were exclusively breastfed 3 months or more, the following was found:  in the first 2 years of life, exclusive breastfeeding was associated with lower rates of recurrent wheeze, but exclusive breastfeeding increased the risk of asthma at ages 6 through 13 among children of asthmatic mothers, OR (odds ratio) 8.7. (11p)  (that's 770% higher risk)


In a 2007 Australian study, at age 7, exclusively breast-fed children with a maternal history of atopy had a marginally lower risk of current asthma than those not exclusively breast-fed.  However, after age 7, the risk reversed, and exclusively breastfed children had an increased risk of current asthma at ages 14 (OR, 1.46), becoming still higher at age 32 (OR, 1.84), and 44 (OR, 1.57). Exclusively breastfed children also had a reduced risk of food allergy at age 7 years but an increased risk of food allergy (OR, 1.26) and allergic rhinitis (OR, 1.2) at 44 years. (11s)


In a New Zealand study, 504 children were breastfed (4 weeks or longer) and 533 were not. "More children who were breastfed were atopic at all ages from 13 to 21 years ..."  Multifactor analysis controlling for socioeconomic status, parental smoking, and birth order showed odds ratios of .....1.83 for the breastfed children (vs. non-breastfed) for current asthma at 9-26 years by repeated-measures analysis, at each assessment within that age range.(11d)


In a U.S. study provided by the National Library of Medicine, questionnaires were completed at age 6, 9 or 11 years by parents of 1043 children enrolled at birth.  "For children with maternal asthma, the percent developing active MD asthma increased significantly with longer duration of exclusive breastfeeding. Odds of developing asthma among these children were significantly elevated (OR: 5.7), after adjusting for confounders."(11h)    (that's 470% higher likelihood of asthma among the more-breastfed of these children)


In a Japanese study of 2,315 students at age 6-15 with asthma and 21,513 controls, the risk of breastfeeding for asthma was compared with that of artificial feeding. After adjustment for age, gender, parental smoking status, and parental history of asthma, a significantly higher prevalence of asthma was noted among children who had been breastfed (adjusted odds ratio = 1.198) (11u)


In a 2003 study in Brazil, breastfed children were found to have higher rates of asthma than non-breastfed children in all breastfeeding duration categories, with the association reaching a high level of statistical significance in the 9-month duration category.  For two other duration periods, the statistical significance was 1 percentage point above the normal cutoff point for significance, and 2 percentage points above the cutoff for the remaining period.(11u1)



BFallergStudyG.gifSection 2.b  Allergies at younger vs. older ages:

In a 2011 U.S. study (see data Table 2 on right), 739 young children (up to age 6) were found to have far higher levels of food sensitization with greater age.(11j)   Note that before age 2, the increase in allergies (OR's above 1.0) for the breastfed children were small; but for children past age 2 the increases in allergies associated with breastfeeding became quite large.  In both cases, the increases in allergies were greater for children who were breastfed for longer durations.



In a 2004 Danish study of 15,430 mother-child pairs, it was found that, although overall current breastfeeding was not associated with atopic dermatitis, exclusive breastfeeding for at least 4 months was associated with an increased risk of atopic dermatitis in children with no parents with allergies. (IRR (incidence rate ratio)= 1.29).(11f)  Note that this substantial but relatively moderate increased risk of atopic dermatitis was assessed at only 18 months of age, which was very young by comparison with the studies that followed up at later ages and found higher risk ratios for breastfeeding.



In a 2010 study of children in the Faroes Islands, it was found that risk of allergy development increased with each additional month of breastfeeding.(11u2)


In an Armenian study, breastfeeding by a mother with atopic condition was associated with development of atopic dermatitis after just 12 months of age.(11w)


In a 2011 Taiwan study of 18,733 babies, it was found that, "After adjustment for potential confounders, the overall results showed that the increased duration of breastfeeding seemed to increase the risk of AD at 18 months in children.(11x)


In a 2009 Japanese study of 763 infants, surveyed at 16 to 24 months after birth (as well as earlier), it was found that both exclusive breastfeeding for 4 months or more and partial breastfeeding for 6 months or more were associated with an increased risk of atopic eczema among infants with no parental history of allergic disorders (odds ratios were 2.41 and 3.39. (11g)


In a 2005 New Zealand study, which assessed 550 children at 3½ years of age, 87 of whom were diagnosed with AD (atopic dermatitis), the odds ratios for AD were 6.13 and 9.7 respectively for children with less than 6 months or more than 6 months of breastfeeding, as compared with children who were never breastfed.(11e)  Here again, as in other cases, there was a conspicuous dose-response relationship, with greater exposure to breastfeeding apparently leading to greater amounts of allergy.


In a 2006 Finnish study, strictly exclusive breastfeeding for at least 9 months was found to be associated with increased atopic dermatitis and food allergy symptoms at age 5, particularly among children with a positive family history of allergy.(11n)  This study was cited in a subsequent study that pointed out, "most recent studies do not confirm the 'conventional wisdom' that breastfeeding is protective against allergy and asthma."(11o)


In a 2007 Australian study, 516 children were evaluated at age 5, and breastfeeding for 6 months or more was associated with an increased risk of atopy. (11c)   In a 2012 Australian study, 15,142 new entrants to primary schools with parent-reported nut allergy were studied, and it was found that children fed only foods other than breast milk before six months were least likely to develop a parent-reported nut allergy (OR = 0.63) compared with children who were exclusively breast fed (OR = 1.43). Children who were only partially breastfed were also far better off than the exclusively breastfed, but worse off than the totally-non-breastfed (OR = 0.83).  (This again is a conspicuous dose-response relationship.)  The authors continued, "Furthermore, prolonged breast feeding has been shown to increase the odds of developing peanut allergy by almost 3 times that of children who were weaned at or before 6 months. Our study results concur...."(11t)


The Promotion of Breastfeeding Intervention Trial (PROBIT) in Belarus was exceptional among studies in this area in using randomization, a feature of high-quality studies, which helps avoid the problem of confounders to which observational studies (the type that characterizes essentially all other studies related to health effects of breastfeeding) are especially subject.  Outcomes were examined at 6.5 years of age, and it was found that risk of allergy was "increased from two-fold to three-fold in the intervention (highly-breastfed) group for the majority of antigens."(11b)


In a German study of 1314 infants born in 1990, analyzing the effect of any breastfeeding duration on the prevalence of atopic eczema, it was found that the prevalence of atopic eczema in the first seven years increased with each additional month of breastfeeding.(11a)  Again, a dose-response relationship, and a finely-tuned one at that.

In a 2006 U.S. study provided by the National Library of Medicine, assessing 405 children age 6 to 7 from the Childhood Allergy Study, "children who were exclusively breastfed were 50% more likely to show allergic sensitization than exclusively formula-fed only children."(11k)

In a 2007 Canadian study provided by the National Library of Medicine, breastfeeding increased the risk for atopy among boys at age 13 with paternal atopy (OR, 7.39) compared with non-breastfed boys with paternal atopy. For girls at age 13, breastfeeding increased the risk for atopy in those with maternal atopy (OR, 3.13) compared with non-breast-fed girls with maternal atopy. (11r)


In a 2000 Finnish study, it was found that prolonged breast-feeding, either exclusively or combined with infrequent exposure to small amounts of cow's milk during the first 2 months of life, induces development of allergic reaction to cow's milk, with odds ratios of 5.1  and 5.7. (11r2)



To summarize:  There is good evidence indicating health benefits to a child of breastfeeding while the breastfeeding is taking place, and probably for a few months following weaning.  But the evidence appears to be overwhelming that the medium- and long-term effects of breastfeeding regarding asthma and allergies are adverse.  The above studies are only part of the evidence for the above relationship.  To be shown below (in Section 4) is considerable historical health data helping to verify the above. 


Section 2.c:  Additional explanation of how breastfeeding contributes to asthma:

Bearing in mind the link between asthma and tobacco smoke, note that a 1998 study (of 330 mother-infant pairs) found that "breast-fed infants of smoking mothers have urine cotinine levels 10-fold higher than bottle-fed infants whose mothers smoke."11r3 (Cotinine is a marker for smoke exposure)  So it appears that the results of smoke in the air are dramatically increased due to the strong concentrating effect of the lactation process, taking in moderate doses of environmental contaminants and transferring them to the infant in far more potent form.  This would almost certainly apply in the case of other atmospheric contaminants also.


Section 2.d:  Relevant links:

Although this article is devoted to effects of breastfeeding as related to asthma and allergies, it is worth mentioning in passing that there is also excellent evidence linking increased breastfeeding with increased

-- obesity (see www.child-obesity.us),

-- diabetes (see www.breastfeeding-and-diabetes.info),

-- childhood cancer (see www.breastfeeding-and-cancer.info),

-- ADHD and psychological problems (see www.breastfeeding-health-effects.info), and

-- autism (see www.breastfeeding-and-autism.net).  There is an interesting quote in this last-mentioned website, in which a very highly-published scientist with the distinguished status of Fellow of the American College of Nutrition (R.A. Shamberger, PhD) summarizes his study of autism and breastfeeding data in all 50 U.S. states and 51 U.S. counties as follows:  "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."(11y)


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Section 3   

An apparent contradiction regarding asthma that nobody seems to be able to explain, but which has a perfectly logical explanation:

Concerning air pollution as a determinant of asthma prevalence, a seeming contradiction to previously-accepted beliefs has been observed:  "pediatric asthma prevalence is substantially lower in relatively highly polluted European countries such as the former East Germany, Poland, and Estonia." (citing studies published in 1992 and 1994)(11z)  This finding was so contrary toward established beliefs about effects of coal-burning pollution on asthma that it was responsible for shifting the entire focus of research on the subject.(11m) 


However, there was in actuality no good reason to doubt the established beliefs about the underlying environmental toxins.  Those toxins are apparently harmful only if the child's immune system is not well developed; and apparently there were fewer children in the former Iron Curtain countries with impaired immune systems.   It is apparently not common knowledge, but is nevertheless true, that breastfeeding rates were very low in the Soviet-controlled states as long as that control continued. (see footnote 8fa at www.breastfeeding-and-diabetes.info.   See Section 1 about negative effects of breastfeeding on development of the immune system, and also see Section 2 for ample evidence that breastfeeding leads to increased asthma incidence, especially as the breastfed children become older.  The studies finding surprisingly-low asthma prevalence in the former Soviet lands were published in 1992 and 1994, reflecting apparent effects of the low breastfeeding rates that had prevailed during the infancies of the children who were surveyed.  So there appears to be no reason to question the well-observed connection between pollution and asthma, if one is aware of why the percentage of children with compromised immune systems can vary substantially between regions with different breastfeeding rates.




Section 4: 

Historical health data showing what happened regarding asthma and allergy incidences following increases in breastfeeding

Figures 1




Note from these charts that breastfeeding in the U.S. increased very substantially in the decades following 1971. (These two charts were from different surveys, showing some differences in data, but the strong upward trend is obvious in both.)


For the period from 1969–1970 to 1994–1995, Newacheck and Halfon (2000) reported that the prevalence of disabilities related to asthma among U.S. children (based on the National Health Interview Survey) increased 232%.(12Notice how compatible that is with the increases in breastfeeding rates that took place during those years.











Serious cases of asthma increasing only among those most exposed to breastfeeding:

In Figure 2, below, observe the rate of hospitalizations for asthma for 0-to-4-year-olds, those most closely affected by the increases in breastfeeding:  Serious cases of asthma increased over 60% from 1980 to 2004, a period in which effects of the transition to much higher breastfeeding rates would have been occurring. 



Fig. 2








What happened among those age 0-4 contrasts with what happened among those age 15 and above:  There were declines in serious cases of asthma among those age groups least affected by the increases in breastfeeding:

   a) a 42% decline among those completely unaffected by the increases in breastfeeding (those age 35-64); (following advances in practices for treating this disease, such a decline in not surprising);

   b) a smaller, variable, but significant decline among that age group only partly affected by the increases in breastfeeding (those age 15-34);

   c) no consistent decline or increase among those affected by increased breastfeeding but well separated from it (the 5-14 age group).


Compare the above with the over-60% increase in serious cases of asthma among the age group with the closest exposure to breastfeeding. 


The difference in asthma hospitalizations between those closely affected by the increases in breastfeeding and those unaffected by it is huge.  And it is quite noteworthy that the remaining age groups were distributed between the opposite extremes in proportion to how much and how closely they were affected by the increases in breastfeeding.


When noticing that there was no consistent trend in asthma hospitalizations in the 5-14 age group, note that this is not an indication of lack of long-term effects from the increases in breastfeeding that had taken place during their infancies.  That lack of trend should be compared with the 42% decline that took place among the age group that was unaffected by the increases in breastfeeding.  A major decline is apparently what should have been expected, given advances over the years in methods of treating this disease.  Something other than a major decline probably reflects something having gone wrong for that age group.


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Data going back to the 1970's

asthma70s.bmpFig. 3

Unfortunately there is little data available about asthma prevalence in the U.S. before 1980.  This chart shows what seems to be the best of what is available.  Notice here that, among all people unaffected by the increases in breastfeeding as of 1980 (those age 15 and older), office visits for asthma were either stable or declining between 1975 and 1980-1981.  But observe again what happened among those most closely affected by the increases in breastfeeding (the 0-4 age group):  there was a substantial increase in that period, suggesting the likelihood of an increase in an exposure that infants, specifically, would have received.  One very likely such exposure would have been immunological harm resulting from the increases in breastfeeding that occurred when these children were infants. 


The 5-14 age group is another group that merits attention.  As of 1975 the infancies of this group would have still been completely within the period of low breastfeeding.  Notice the major increase of this age group's asthma rate between that first period, when this cohort would have had low-breastfed infancies, and the later periods when much or all of their infancies would have been at times of higher breastfeeding.  (See in Figures 1, above, the major increases in breastfeeding over those years.)


(The 1980-81 figure for the 5-14 age group stands out as not being part of a gradual trend; seeing the large "standard errors" that apply to this chart, it appears very likely that the correct value for this data point could well have been far lower than what is shown.  Data tables with such large standard errors are useful for seeing overall trends, but significant errors for individual data points are very much to be expected.)


Asthma rates as shown in Figure 3 above also increased substantially (50-65%) among adults during the years shown, but those increases were far less than the increases (doubling and more) among the age groups that were heavily affected by the increases in breastfeeding.


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The chart below considerably updates the above charts, while showing continuation of the same relationships observed above.   Note that outpatient hospital visits for children increased by 24% during the few years between 2001-2003 and 2007-2009, while such visits by adults over age 35 declined by 20%.  This is a repeat of the pattern shown at the beginning of this section, in which those who were heavily exposed to the increases in breastfeeding had rapidly increasing asthma at the same exact time as those with very little or no exposure to breastfeeding had declining rates of asthma.

Fig. 4



Table 19 just above also shows similarities to the earlier pattern with regard to deaths from asthma.  Although the overall trend is downward during this period, again we see a vastly less favorable trend among those greatly exposed to breastfeeding as compared with those who had very little or no such exposure:  a 5% decline as opposed to a 27% decline in deaths.


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It is also revealing to see how closely the changes in asthma rates among black children correlate with earlier changes in breastfeeding.  The CDC points out, "The greatest rise in asthma rates was among black children from 2001 through 2009" (almost a 50% increase), whereas the increase in asthma among U.S. children overall during that time was only about 10%. (17)  Having read of that remarkably high increase in asthma only among black children in 2001-2009, then note the huge change in breastfeeding rates that took place only among black women during the period leading up to that increase:  those rates increased "among non-Hispanic black women from 36% in 1993-1994 to 65% in 2005-2006."  By contrast, changes in breastfeeding rates during that time period in the only other ethnic groups reported on were far smaller (62% increasing to 79% among non-Hispanic whites, and 67% increasing to 80% among Mexican-Americans);(18) those comparatively minor increases were compatible with the minor increases that took place in asthma in those other groups, during the time period under consideration.


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Atopic dermatitis is a form of skin allergy.  Notice in this CDC chart what has been happening in prevalence of allergies as breastfeeding rates have been rising, including a 37% increase in food allergies and a 65% increase in skin allergies for the 0-4 age group in just 12 years.  Note, in Figure 1 above, that the increase in the U.S. breastfeeding rate at six months shown for the years relevant to that period (1995 to 2010) was 57%. 

For the period before the years shown in the above chart, the CDC apparently does not provide data, but the following from an article in the New England Journal of Medicine fills in as follows:  (as published in 2008) "The prevalence of atopic dermatitis has doubled or tripled in industrialized countries during the past three decades, affecting 15–30% of children."(20) That doubling or tripling over that time period bears a close resemblance to the increases in breastfeeding during the years that would have been relevant, as seen in Figures 1.

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More on asthma in relation to breastfeeding:  In an American study published in 2004, it was found that children in California day-care settings who were exclusively breastfed for four months or more were 34% more likely to have any asthma and twice as likely to have late-onset asthma, compared with children breastfed for less than four months.(21)



According to the Pew Commission on Environmental Health, “little is known about the factors that cause asthma to develop (and even less about why prevalence rates are going up)." (13)  There is some support for the idea that the drug acetaminophen contributes to the increase, but 13 years and over 20 studies after that idea was first authoritatively proposed, there is still no agreement on that hypothesis.(14)  However, there are good reasons to believe that the increases in breastfeeding are a crucial factor underlying the increases in asthma, as follows:


    a)  The amounts of the increases in breastfeeding rates were compatible with the amounts of increases in asthma.

    b)  The times of the variations in breastfeeding rates generally tracked accurately ahead of the times of the changes in asthma prevalence, individually by age group for various different age groups as described above; and those increases came at the same times during which asthma rates were uniformly declining among those age groups not affected by the changing breastfeeding.

    c)  As indicated in Section 1 above, there is excellent biological evidence for seeing harmful effects of breastfeeding in contemporary developed countries on development of children's immune systems, which are central to vulnerability to asthma and allergies.

    d) As indicated in Section 2 above, many studies have found substantially increased levels of asthma and allergies among those who were more highly breastfed, especially as they became older.







(1) Dr. Richard Blumberg, in Cell Research, advance online publication 24 April 2012; doi: 10.1038/cr.2012.65  "Early exposure to germs and the Hygiene Hypothesis,"  Division of Immunology, Children's Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical Sch'l; and FDA website, at www.fda.gov/biologicsbloodvaccines/resourcesforyou/consumers/ucm167471.htm 


(2) "Surgeon General's Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding, 2011," including p. 33, which can be found at http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/calls/breastfeeding/calltoactiontosupportbreastfeeding.pdf

(3)  Environmental Epidemiology of Pediatric Asthma and Allergy,  Christine Cole Johnson et al., Epidemiologic Reviews,  Oxford Journals,  Volume 24, Issue 2  Pp. 154-175


(3b)  "Atopic dermatitis"  Bieber T  N Engl J Med. 2008 Apr 3; 358(14):1483-94.


(4)  quoted in website of USA Today, posted 8/7/2005, "Allergy sensitivity doubles since 1970s" found at  http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/health/2005-08-07-allergy-sensitivity_x.htm?POE=click-refer


(5) Management of Atopic Dermatitis in the Pediatric Population   Andrew C. Krakowski, MD et al., Found at http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/122/4/812.long


(9)http://www.fda.gov/biologicsbloodvaccines/resourcesforyou/consumers/ucm167471.htm   Also "Too clean, or not too clean: the Hygiene Hypothesis and home hygiene," SF Bloomfield et al. Clin Exp Allergy. 2006 April; 36(4): 402–425. Blackwell Publishing Ltd  found at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1448690/

Also "Early exposure to germs and the Hygiene Hypothesis" Dale T Umetsu   Cell Research advance online publication 24 April 2012; doi: 10.1038/cr.2012.65  Division of Immunology, Karp Laboratories, Children's Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA http://www.nature.com/cr/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/cr201265a.html


(9a) "About Allergies/ Why Are Allergies Increasing?" found at  http://fooddrugallergy.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=40


(9b) "Breastfeeding, Family Physicians Supporting (Position Paper)" -- AAFP Policies -- American Academy of Family Physicians


(10) "Environmental toxicants and the developing immune system: a missing link in the global battle against infectious disease?" Bethany Winans, et al., Reprod Toxicol. 2011 April; 31(3): 327–336. Published online 2010 September 22. doi: 10.1016/j.reprotox.2010.09.004 PMCID: PMC3033466 NIHMSID: NIHMS245165 accessed at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3033466/ citing the following:

Heilmann C, Grandjean P, Weihe P, Nielsen F, Budtz-Jorgensen E. "Reduced antibody responses to vaccinations in children exposed to polychlorinated biphenyls." PLoS Med. 2006;3:e311. [PMC free article

Weisglas-Kuperus N, Patandin S, Berbers GA, Sas TC, Mulder PG, Sauer PJ, et al. "Immunologic effects of background exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls and dioxins in Dutch preschool children." Environmental health perspectives. 2000;108:1203. [PMC free article]

Glynn A, Thuvander A, Aune M, Johannisson A, Darnerud P, Ronquist G, et al. "Immune cell counts and risks of respiratory infections among infants exposed pre- and postnatally to organochlorine compounds: a prospective study". Environmental Health. 2008;7:62. [PMC free article]

Dallaire F, Dewailly E, Muckle G, Vezina C, Jacobson SW, Jacobson JL, et al. "Acute infections and environmental exposure to organochlorines in Inuit infants from Nunavik." Environ Health Perspect. 2004;112:1359–63. [PMC free article]

Dewailly E, Ayotte P, Bruneau S, Gingras S, Belles-Isles M, Roy R. "Susceptibility to infections and immune status in Inuit infants exposed to organochlorines.” Environ Health Perspect. 2000;108:205–11. [PMC free article]

Jedrychowski W, Galas A, Pac A, Flak E, Camman D, Rauh V, et al. "Prenatal ambient air exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and the occurrence of respiratory symptoms over the first year of life." European journal of epidemiology. 2005;20:775–82.

Weisglas-Kuperus N, Vreugdenhil HJ, Mulder PG. "Immunological effects of environmental exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls and dioxins in Dutch school children." Toxicol Lett. 2004;149:281–5.

Guo YL, Lambert GH, Hsu CC, Hsu MM. Yucheng: "Health effects of prenatal exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls and dibenzofurans." Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2004;77:153–8.

Vos JG, Moore JA. "Suppression of cellular immunity in rats and mice by maternal treatment with 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin." International archives of allergy and applied immunology.


(10a) Potential for early-life immune insult including developmental immunitoxicity in autism and autism spectrum disorders: Focus on critical windows of immune vulnerability Dietert and Dietert, Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, PartB, 11:600-680, 2008 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC


(10b) See Section 2 of  www.breastfeeding-toxins.info,


(11) Genetic and Perinatal Risk Factors for Asthma Onset and Severity: A Review and Theoretical Analysis  Michael B. Bracken et al., Oxford Journals  Medicine   Epidemiologic Reviews  Volume 24, Issue 2,  Pp. 176-189   2003  found at http://epirev.oxfordjournals.org/content/24/2/176.full

Many studies that found apparent adverse effects of breastfeeding (from here down to bottom of indented section)

(11a)  Breastfeeding duration is a risk factor for atopic eczema. Bergmann RL  et al., Clin Exp Allergy. 2002 Feb;32(2):205-9.  Found at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11929483

(11b)  Breastfeeding and allergies: time for a change in paradigm?  Duncan JM, et al., Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2008 Oct;8(5):398-405. doi: 10.1097/ACI.0b013e32830d82ed.  found at  www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18769191

(11c)  The association between infant feeding practices and subsequent atopy among children with a family history of asthma,  Mihrshahi S, et al., Clin Exp Allergy. 2007 May;37(5):671-9. found at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17456214  

(11d)  Long-term relation between breastfeeding and development of atopy and asthma in children and young adults: a longitudinal study.  Sears MR, et al., Lancet. 2002 Sep 21;360(9337):901-7.  Found at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12354471

(11e)  Risk factors for atopic dermatitis in New Zealand children at 3.5 years of age.  Purvis DJ, et al., Br J Dermatol. 2005 Apr;152(4):742-9.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15840107

(11f)  Breastfeeding and risk of atopic dermatitis, by parental history of allergy, during the first 18 months of life.   Benn CS, Am J Epidemiol. 2004 Aug 1;160(3):217-23.  Found at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15257994  


(11g)  Breastfeeding and atopic eczema in Japanese infants: The Osaka Maternal and Child Health Study.  Miyake Y, et al., Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2009 May;20(3):234-41. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3038.2008.00778.x.  Found at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19438982


(11h) Maternal asthma status alters relation of infant feeding to asthma in childhood.

Wright AL et al.,  Adv Exp Med Biol. 2000;478:131-7.  Found at  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11065066


(11j)  Gene polymorphisms, breast-feeding, and development of food sensitization in early childhood.   Hong X, J et al., Allergy Clin Immunol. 2011 Aug;128(2):374-81.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2011.05.007. Found at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3149737/

(11k)  Breastfeeding history and childhood allergic status in a prospective birth cohort.  Wegienka G, et al., Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2006 Jul;97(1):78-83.  Found at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16892786

(11m) The Asthma Epidemic,  Waltraud Eder, M.D., et al, New England Journal of Medicine,  N Engl J Med 2006;355:2226-35.  Copyright © 2006 Massachusetts Medical Society.found at http://physio.ucsf.edu/GEMS/courses/Immunology/materials/fa11_essential_immunology/september_6_asthma/elder_nejm.pdf



*(11n) Prolonged exclusive breastfeeding is associated with increased atopic dermatitis: a prospective followup study of unselected healthy newborns from birth to age 20 years. Pesonen M et al., Clin Exp  Allergy 2006; 36:1011–1018.*


(11o) *NOTE:  The studies listed in footnotes 11n and 11p were found in  Breastfeeding and allergies: time for a change in paradigm?  Duncan JM, et al., Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2008 Oct;8(5):398-405. doi: 10.1097/ACI.0b013e32830d82ed.  found at  www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18769191


*(11p1)  Factors influencing the relation of infant feeding to asthma and recurrent wheeze in childhood. Wright AL,et al., Thorax  2001; 56:192–197.    Also:  


*(11p2)  Effect of breastfeeding on lung function in childhood and modulation by maternal asthma and atopy. Guilbert TW  et al., Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2007; 176:843–848.*


(11r)  Interactions between breast-feeding, specific parental atopy, and sex on development of asthma and atopy.  Mandhane PJ et al., J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2007 Jun;119(6):1359-66. Epub 2007 Mar 13.  Found at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17353035/

(11r2) Saarinen KM, et al., Infant feeding patterns affect the subsequent immunological features in cow's milk allergy.  Clin Exp Allergy. 2000 Mar;30(3):400-6.  at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10691899

(11r3)  M A Mascola,et al., Exposure of young infants to environmental tobacco smoke: breast-feeding among smoking mothers. Am J Public Health. 1998 June; 88(6): 893–896. PMCID: PMC1508233  found at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1508233

(11s)  Breast-feeding and atopic disease: a cohort study from childhood to middle age.  Matheson MC,  et al., J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2007 Nov;120(5):1051-7. Epub 2007 Aug 31. Found at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17764732

(11t) Infant Feeding Practices and Nut Allergy over Time in Australian School Entrant Children,  Jessica Paton, et al., Int J Pediatr. 2012; 2012: 675724.  Published online 2012 July 3. doi: 10.1155/2012/675724   PMCID: PMC3397206   found at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3397206/

(11u) Relation between Breastfeeding and the Prevalence of Asthma:  The Tokorozawa Childhood Asthma and Pollinosis Study, Yousuke Takemura et al., Oxford Journals  Medicine   American Journal of Epidemiology  Volume 154, Issue 2  Pp. 115-119. American Journal of Epidemiology   aje.oxfordjournals.org  Am. J. Epidemiol. (2001) 154 (2): 115-119. doi: 10.1093/aje/154.2.115   found at  http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/154/2/115.abstract?ijkey=119530f7421c3b14e82a501acb68c2f174e4b041&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha

(11u1) Costa Lima et al., Do Risk Factors for Childhood Infections and Malnutrition Protect Against Asthma? A Study of Brazilian Male Adolescents,  Am J Public Health. 2003 November; 93(11): 1858–1864. at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1448063/

(11u2) Philippe Grandjean et al., Allergy and Sensitization during Childhood Associated with Prenatal and Lactational Exposure to Marine Pollutants    Environ Health Perspect. 2010 October; 118(10): 1429–1433. PMCID: PMC2957924    found at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2957924

(11v)  Risk factors for early, persistent, and late-onset wheezing in young children. Rusconi F, , et al. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 1999; found at http://www.atsjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1164/ajrccm.160.5.9811002

(11w)  Feeding practices of babies and the development of atopic dermatitis in children after 12 months of age in Armenia: is there a signal?  Sahakyan A, et al., Eur J Epidemiol. 2006;21(9):723-5. Epub 2006 Oct 18.   Found at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17048079

(11x)  Infant feeding practices and physician diagnosed atopic dermatitis: a prospective cohort study in Taiwan.  Chuang CH et al., Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2011 Feb;22(1 Pt 1):43-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3038.2010.01007.x.   Found http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20573037

The indented studies inserted below are placed there only to bring together in one place (along with the above, starting with 11a) a large number of scientific studies that found breastfeeding to lead to increases in disease:


(8k) Lack of association between early exposure to cow's milk protein and beta-cell autoimmunity. Diabetes Autoimmunity Study in the Young (DAISY) Norris JM et al., JAMA. 1996 Aug 28;276(8):609-14.

(8l) Indian J Pediatr.

 2001 Feb;68(2):107-10. IDDM and early exposure of infant to cow's milk and solid food. Esfarjani F et al., National Nutrition and Food Technology Research Institute, Shaheed Beheshti University, Tehran, IR, Iran.

(8m) IDDM and early infant feeding. Sardinian case-control study. Meloni T et al., Diabetes Care. 1997 Mar;20(3):340-2. Istituto di Clinica Pediatrica e Neonatologica, University of Sassar, Italy.

(8n) Early infant feeding and type 1 diabetes. Savilahti E et al., Eur J Nutr. 2009 Jun;48(4):243-9. doi: 10.1007/s00394-009-0008-z. Epub 2009 Mar 5. Hospital for Children and Adolescents, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland

(8o) The relation of early nutrition, infections and socio-economic factors to the development of childhood diabetes. Telahun M et al., Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Medicine, Addis Abeba University. Ethiop Med J. 1994 Oct;32(4):239-44.

(8p) IDDM and Early Infant Feeding: Sardinian case-control study Tullio Meloni, MD (+5 other MDs and one PhD) Istituto di Clinica Pediatrica e Neonatologica, University of Sassari Sassari American Diabetes Assn., Diabetes Care, Copyright © 1997 by the American Diabetes Association

(8x) V Mijac et al., Role of environmental factors in the development of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) in Venezuelan children (in Spanish but good abstract in English), Invest Clin. 1995 June;36(2): 73-82 at http://www.ncbi.nim.nih.gv/pubmed/7548302


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


(11y)  Autism rates associated with nutrition and the WIC program. Shamberger RJ., King James Medical Laboratory, Cleveland, Ohio J Am Coll Nutr. 2011 Oct;30(5):348-53. At http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22081621

(11z)  Prevalence of asthma and atopy in two areas of West and East Germany.  von Mutius E, Martinez FD, Fritzsch C, Nicolai T, Roell G, Thiemann HH.   Am JRespir Crit Care Med 1994;149:358-64.


(12)  Cited in The Future of Disability in America, Ch. 3, p. 77  Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Disability in America; Field MJ, et al., ed.,  National Academies Press (US); 2007 bookshelf ID: NBK11437    found at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK11437


(12a) “New Asthma Estimates: Tracking Prevalence, Health Care and Mortality,” NCHS, CDC, 2001.


(12b) from CDC:  Summary of Trends in Breastfeeding  2011 Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance  National  Table 13D Children Aged < 5 Years


(13) http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/asthma/  http://www.webmd.com/asthma/children


(14) http:/www.nytimes.com/2011/12/20/health/evidence-mounts-linking-acetaminophen-and-asthma.html


(15) Table 13d of CDC's 2011 Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance at  http:/www.cdc.gov/pednss/pednss_tables/pdf/national_table13.pdf


(16) "Environmental toxicants and the developing immune system: a missing link in the global battle against infectious disease?"  Bethany Winans, et al., Reprod Toxicol. 2011 April; 31(3): 327–336. See footnote 10 for details.


(16a) The childhood asthma epidemic  G Russell et al.,  Thorax. 2006 April; 61(4): 276–278. doi:  10.1136/thx.2005.052662  PMCID: PMC2104623  found at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2104623/   Also  The Asthma Epidemic,  Waltraud Eder, M.D., et al., N Engl J Med 2006; 355:2226-2235November 23, 2006DOI: 10.1056/NEJMra054308    Also U.S. Department of Health and Human Services at  http://aspe.hhs.gov/sp/asthma/overview.htm  Also  "While increasing numbers of Britons are suffering from allergies, more believe - falsely – that they are." Barbara Lantin investigates,  Daily Telegraph  24 Apr 2006"  "...in the past 20 years, asthma, hayfever and eczema have increased two- to threefold."  Found at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/alternativemedicine/3338707/The-allergy-epidemic.html   Also The epidemic of asthma and allergy  Stephen T Holgate, DSc FRCP J R Soc Med. 2004 March; 97(3): 103–110. PMCID: PMC1079317 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1079317/  


(16b) http://fooddrugallergy.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=40  "About Allergies/ Why Are Allergies Increasing?"


(17) CDC's "Asthma in the U.S."  at http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/asthma


(18) "Breastfeeding in the United States: Findings from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999-2006" 



(20) "Atopic dermatitis"  Bieber T  N Engl J Med. 2008 Apr 3; 358(14):1483-94.

183. Miller JE. Predictors of asthma in young children: does reporting source affect our conclusions? Am J Epidemiol 2001;154:245–50.  Abstract/FREE Full Text

184. Oddy WH, Holt PG, Sly PD, et al. Association between breast feeding and asthma in 6 year old children: findings of a prospective birth cohort study. BMJ 1999;319:815–19.  Abstract/FREE Full Text

185. Dell S, To T. Breastfeeding and asthma in young children: findings from a population-based study. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2001;155:1261–5.  MedlineWeb

 of Science

186. Rusconi F, Galassi C, Corbo GM, et al. Risk factors for early, persistent, and late-onset wheezing in young children. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 1999;160:1617–22.  Abstract/FREE Full Text

187. Wright AL, Holberg CJ, Taussig LM, et al. Relationship of infant feeding to recurrent wheezing at age 6 years. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 1995;149:758–63.  CrossRefMedlineWeb of Science

188. Sears MR, Greene JM, Willan AR, et al. Long-term relation between breastfeeding and development of atopy and asthma in children and young adults: a longitudinal study. Lancet 2002;360:901–7. CrossRefMedlineWeb of Science

189. Wright AL, Holberg CJ, Taussig LM, et al. Factors influencing the relation of infant feeding to asthma and recurrent wheeze in childhood. Thorax 2001;56:192–7.  Abstract/FREE Full Text

190. Takemura Y, Sakurai Y, Honjo S, et al. Relation between breastfeeding and the prevalence of asthma: the Tokorozawa Childhood Asthma and Pollinosis Study. Am J Epidemiol 2001;154:115–19.Abstract/FREE Full Text


(21) Salam et al., Early-Life Environmental Risk Factors for Asthma: Findings from the

Children’s Health Study, May 2004 • Environmental Health Perspectives, Table 5 (bottom 3 lines) at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1241973/pdf/ehp0112-000760.pdf



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