Hayley DeRoche's Reviews > Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History

Breasts by Florence   Williams
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's review
Aug 09, 2012

really liked it
Read from July 19 to August 08, 2012

I had so many pages dog-eared for this review, but then I decided it would make this review into a novella, so basically:

-Breasts are fascinating in that they tell us SO MUCH about our bodies, the way they grow and change, and really importantly, reflect the environments we live in. And yet very, very few people are studying them. Like, at all. They aren't even included in tons of studies in which they would provide the ultimate data.

-Breast is best? Not so fast. Yes, breast feeding may impart really valuable infection-fighting germs and bio-thingies and whatnot (remember, I left my dog-eared book full of the technical terms at home) and yes, formula companies are always trying to reproduce these unique and crazy-amazing aspects of breast milk, to different levels of success. So yes, given the infection-fighting aspects of breast milk versus formula, one might think that OF COURSE "breast is best". Except that oh wait, things like JET FUEL and FLAME RETARDANTS have been found in the breast milk of women who sent it away for testing in the name of Science (including the author, who was number 101 in the study). These jet and flame chemicals are just some of the others found in breast milk that's being directly fed to childred. Often the breast milk from mothers living in certain environments borders on toxic waste (Inuit women, for example). In short, formula? Maybe not so bad, if one's breast milk will pass on things like carcinogens in toxic quantities. Whoopsadaisy there, Our Bodies. We're killing ourselves by living.

-Cells are CRAZY. For example, it's recommended that girls during puberty not undergo things like x-rays which will permanenetly change their cell structure (*or something -- again, book not in hand). Studies show that puberty is a HUGE risk time in a girl's life for permanently altering her biological future. And the future of her children, and their children, depending on the harm caused.

-Early puberty is still being studied and it'd pretty nuts, and people should pay attention. It's interesting, as is the whole study of the breast in conjunction with the rest of the body.

-This book is not all "BOOBIES!" -- it's scientific but easily readable. A lot of time is spent on talking about breast milk, which got a little boring, but at the same time, hey, it's a big function of breasts, so okay. I would have liked to see a whole rundown of everything that was reported in her various breast milk tests. I realize that's personal medical information, but she was writing a book on it, soooooo...

-Good companion to "Silent Spring"

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08/01/2012 page 123
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