191 mothers from Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels have agreed to participate in this project. They signed a consent form, filled in a short questionnaire and provided a 50-milliliter milk sample for that matter.
The collection of the human milk and the counselling of the mothers were organised by the PIH (Provinciaal Instituut voor Hygiëne) of Antwerp for Flanders and by the IPHB (Institut Provincial d'Hygiène et de Bactériologie) of Hainaut in Mons for Wallonia and Brussels.
The Scientific Institute of Public Health (IPH) and VITO, the Flemish institution for technological research situated in Geel, were responsible for analysing the samples and for providing scientific support. The results have been incorporated in a final document by VITO.
This project has been made possible by the collaboration of Kind en Gezin, the ONE and the maternity clinics. They played an important role in the finding donors.
Before the project was implemented, ethical advice was asked. During the entire project the emphasis was laid on the promotion of breastfeeding. The World Health Organisation has thoroughly evaluated the advantages of breast-feeding for the baby’s health as well as the possible impact of human milk that has been contaminated by pollutants. It came to the conclusion that breast-feeding is strongly recommended. More information can be found in the Brochure on Breastfeeding of the Belgian Breast-feeding Committee (Federaal Borstvoedingscomité) and in the frequently asked questions that have been identified by the non-governmental organisation Environment and Health Alliance.