Answer to Question #2951 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"
Category: Radiation Effects — Effects on Materials
The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:
Are there any risks to a newborn baby if the mother, who is a radiologist and does fluoroscopic procedures, is breast-feeding? In other words, is the mother's milk irradiated by the procedure and passed on to the newborn?
Radiation-induced chemical changes require rather large doses and even then are rarely harmful to living organisms. Irradiated food, for example, is exposed to doses thousands of times greater than diagnostic doses, and there is no evidence of harm.
Conclusion: There is no reason for concern for lactating females exposed to occupational radiation in doses below the occupational dose limit of 50 mSv per year. S. Julian Gibbs, DDS, PhD
There have been several queries regarding the effects of radiation on breast milk and on whether or not breast-feeding mothers should avoid x-rays, flying, and other sources of radiation. It seems safe to say that exposure to radiation from airline travel, medical diagnostic procedures, or occupational radiation does not affect breast milk, and breast-feeding mothers need not worry about the effects of the x-ray exposure on their children.
However, mothers who receive nuclear medicine procedures (i.e. procedures in which radioactive materials are injected into the body) should not breastfeed after the procedure unless their physician gives approval. This is because some medical isotopes (particularly I-131, used in thyroid studies) can be incorporated into the breast milk.
Answer posted on 19 September 2003. The information and material posted on this website is intended as general reference information only. Specific facts and circumstances may alter the concepts and applications of materials and information described herein. The information provided is not a substitute for professional advice and should not be relied upon in the absence of such professional advice specific to whatever facts and circumstances are presented in any given situation. Answers are correct at the time they are posted on the Website. Be advised that over time, some requirements could change, new data could be made available, or Internet links could change. For answers that have been posted for several months or longer, please check the current status of the posted information prior to using the responses for specific applications.
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