Technical Workshop on Human Milk Surveillance and Research on Environmental Chemicals in the U.S.: An Overview
Interest in human milk research and monitoring for environmental chemicals is growing, and as studies of chemicals in human milk are initiated, it is of the utmost importance that these studies be conducted using harmonized methods. Due to numerous limitations in previous studies and the fact that few studies on environmental chemicals in human milk have been conducted in the United States, there is a growing need for a human milk sampling and analysis protocol in this country. The Technical Workshop on Human Milk Surveillance and Research on Environmental Chemicals in the United States was organized to develop state-of-the-science protocols describing the various aspects of such a program. An expert panel, comprised of specialists in the fields of pediatrics, family medicine, nursing, lactation, human milk sampling, analytical chemistry, epidemiology, pharmacology, toxicology, nutrition, and risk evaluation and communication, was assembled to participate in a 2-day workshop at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine. The expert panel was tasked with carefully describing and defining the components of well-conducted human milk surveillance and research studies, including participant selection, sample collection and analysis techniques, questionnaire development, chemical selection, and data reporting and interpretation, especially for use in the United States. The articles that follow this overview describe the results of the expert panel's deliberations on the components of human milk surveillance and research programs.