Health experts at the 10th annual Child Health Priorities conference say while breast milk has high nutritional value, it’s exposure to pesticides such as DDT malaria pesticides poses a significant threat to child development.

While DDT is critical for malaria control, its contamination of breast milk, may lead to risks such as cancer, diabetes, developmental problems in foetuses and in children, and decreased fertility.

“Breast milk is the best way to go but we should also know that there are issues with that, especially in areas where DDT has been picked up quite a number and concentration, and this complicates the discussion. So the mother transfers a lot of DDT that she has in the body to the child, and we need to investigate what the problems are from the mother to the baby,” says Professor Henk Bouwman from the North West University.