In his book Disease-Proof Your Child, Dr. Fuhrman cites a 2003 study from the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Science.
Here are some the study's findings:
Dioxins and DLCs are long-lasting compounds that accumulate in the body fat of animals and people. Although dioxins are ubiquitous in the environment, the fats in meat, poultry, fatty fish, whole milk, and full-fat dairy products are the principal source of most people's exposure. However, fetal and infant exposure depends on the amount in the mother's body because these compounds can cross the placenta and also collect in the fat in breast milk.
High levels of dioxins have been linked to endocrine-related conditions, developmental problems, and susceptibility to cancer, among other health hazards. However, more research is needed to discern whether small amounts of dioxins are toxic and at what levels they begin to pose risks. Further improvements in analytical tools and methods will enable researchers to better characterize any possible risks associated with low-level exposure. Dioxin levels in the environment have declined dramatically in recent decades -- by as much as 76 percent since the 1970s, according to some measurements. Dioxin levels in foods have decreased greatly as well.
The committee was not asked to offer any judgments about the risks of human exposure through foods, but rather to recommend risk-management options that would further reduce dioxin exposure among the general population and vulnerable groups until the health risks are defined. The report recommended no mandatory limits on dioxins, given the current lack of precise data on both the risks and the current amounts of the compounds in foods and feeds.
Minimizing girls' and young women's intake of dioxins during the years before pregnancy is the only practical way to reduce dioxin exposure in fetuses and breast-feeding infants, the report says. Given the health and social benefits of breast-feeding, the committee recommended strategies to reduce accumulated body levels of dioxin, rather than to discourage breast-feeding.
To reduce dioxin exposures in all children -- especially girls -- government-sponsored food programs, such as the National School Lunch Program, should increase the availability of foods low in animal fat.
The diet Dr. Fuhrman outlines for children in Disease-Proof Your Child is rich in fatty acids from avocado and/or raw nuts and seeds (instead of dairy fat) for a number of reasons. He offers suggestions and recipes for the family that utilize these healthier, nutrient-rich fat sources.. As Dr. Fuhrman describes, getting the vast majority of calories from foods that have been proven to be extremely healthy (like fresh fruits and vegetables, raw nuts, and seeds) helps to alleviate many health risks. How convenient to know that at the same time, you can avoid pernicious toxins like dioxins.