Dioxins are organic chemicals that comprise a family of ubiquitous environmental contaminants. Technically speaking, the dioxins of potential toxicological concern are polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs). They are related, both structurally and toxicologically, to polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Structures of generic PCDDs, PCDFs, and PCBs are shown in Figure 1. Due to their structural and toxicological similarity and to avoid confusion, all three related groups of chemicals are considered to represent "dioxins" for the purposes of this article. Specific chemicals belonging to this family are referred to as congeners. Collectively, there are more than 200 dioxin-related congeners, and each possesses unique toxicological and chemical properties.

New Mothers Guide to Breast Feeding

New Mothers Guide to Breast Feeding

For many years, scientists have been playing out the ingredients that make breast milk the perfect food for babies. They've discovered to day over 200 close compounds to fight infection, help the immune system mature, aid in digestion, and support brain growth - nature made properties that science simply cannot copy. The important long term benefits of breast feeding include reduced risk of asthma, allergies, obesity, and some forms of childhood cancer. The more that scientists continue to learn, the better breast milk looks.

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