Toxins in Cow's Milk and Human Milk
Milk may serve as a vector for the transmission of substances of extrinsic origin which can be potentially toxic to the consumer. These toxins may originate in cow's milk from the ingestion of plants known to contain toxic substances or feeds contaminated with mycotoxins, or residues of pesticides or herbicides. Harm to the consumer of cow's milk may also result from the use of antibiotics used for the treatment of disease in cows or for their growth enhancement. In the case of human breast milk, the routes of exposure can be quite diverse. These include milk derived from nursing mothers who have received medication in the form of drugs or antibiotics. Non-medical contaminants may originate from the mother's excessive use of alcohol, coffee, or tobacco. Other routes of contamination include the diagnostic use of radioisotopes, the transmission of allergens such as peanuts, mercury poisoning from dental fillings or fish, and contamination of the mother's diet with pesticide residues.