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A recent review published in the journal Archives of Disease In Childhood titled, "Marketing breast milk substitutes: problems and perils throughout the world," revealed a disturbing statistic:
Currently, suboptimal breastfeeding is associated with over a million deaths each year and 10% of the global disease burden in children
The review also highlighted an embarrassing fact of US history:
On 21 May 1981 the WHO International Code of Marketing Breast Milk Substitutes (hereafter referred to as the Code) was passed by 118 votes to 1, the US casting the sole negative vote. The Code arose out of concern that the dramatic increase in mortality, malnutrition and diarrhoea in very young infants in the developing world was associated with aggressive marketing of formula. The Code prohibited any advertising of baby formula, bottles or teats and gifts to mothers or 'bribery' of health workers.
The International Code of Marketing Breast Milk Substitutes, which the US thwarted the global consensus on, established an international health policy framework for breastfeeding promotion, as well as recommending restrictions on the marketing of infant formula.
Could the lack of US support and implementation for breastfeeding initiatives such as this be a major factor in why our nation, 30 years later, has one of the worst infant mortality rates in the developed world (29th), tying Slovakia, but lagging behind Cuba?
Presently, less than 5% of U.S. infants are born in "Baby-Friendly" hospitals, "a global designation that indicates best practices in maternity care to support breastfeeding mothers," according to the CDC’s website. This is one reason why only 14.8% of infants born in the US are exclusively breastfed at 6 months, and only 35.% at 3 months. Conversely, 25.4% are never breastfed, with 24.5% of breastfed infants receiving formula before 2 days. 
According to statistics from 2010, the United States and Western Europe account for 33% of the global infant formula market, which consists of 2,260,000,000 lbs of product worth 11.5 billion US dollars. 
And here is a major point in need of differentiation: is the aforementioned global burden of infant mortality associated solely with a lack of breastfeeding, or, rather, does it not also reveal the potential lethality of the milk substitutes being provided and promoted?
We have already investigated some rather disturbing problems with common infant formulas on the market, including so-called "USDA organic" formula which contain highly toxic chemicals advertised as "nutrients," in three previous articles: 1) Why Is Pesticide Used As An Ingredient In Infant Formula? 2) Chemicals As "Nutrients" In "USDA Organic" Infant Formula 3) Infant Formula For Disaster. Clearly, considering the research, infant formula is not benign. If you would like to view the first-hand studies on over 50 adverse health effects associated with infant formula consumption, visit our infant formula page.
Over 70 years ago, Dr. Cicely Williams, a British pediatrician who worked in poverty-stricken areas of Africa and Asia, penned these words:
If your lives were embittered as mine is, by seeing day after day this massacre of the innocents by unsuitable feeding, then I believe you would feel as I do that misguided propaganda on infant feeding should be punished as the most criminal form of sedition, and that those deaths should be regarded as murder
In her book "Milk and Murder," Dr. Cicely was one of the first physicians to draw attention to the corporate take-over of breastfeeding through its shameless, and deadly promotion of infant formula as a substitute even when medically unnecessary.