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Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are a toxic chemical commonly found in the environment. They are nicknamed “forever chemicals” due to the long time they take to break down in the environment. PCBs are produced by building materials, e-waste sites, and electrical equipment. PCB exposure primarily occurs through contaminated food, building materials, or water, and, second, through contaminated air, both indoor and outdoor. PCBs have garnered attention both because the chemical is found in everyday products and also because of its harmful effects on workers. Mounting evidence shows that PCBs increase the risk of cancer. Additionally, PCBs in the environment bioaccumulate, meaning that when animals consume or are exposed to PCBs, it remains in their system and the concentration builds over time. It is because of this bioaccumulation that consumption of contaminated foods is a common pathway to PCB exposure for humans. PCBs have been linked to infertility, decreased gestational age, and decreased birth weight. Furthermore, infants born with high levels of PCB exposure experience decreased muscle tone and function as well as decreased cognitive development., Fetal and child exposure to PCBs commonly occurs through breast milk as PCBs remain in humans’ systems and bioaccumulate, similar to other animals. Infants who were breastfed from those with higher PCB concentrations in their milk also experienced reduced infant neurological function and higher incidence of decreased muscle tone leading to issues with mobility, poor reflexes, and breathing or speech difficulties. Still, major health organizations make clear that these are not reasons to avoid breastfeeding. Breast milk is largely considered the healthiest way to feed one’s baby. 

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