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China

In China, Soap Made From Human Breast Milk

Breast milk soap
Breast milk soap

BEIJING — According to Beijing Youth Daily, soap made from breast milk is one of China's latest fads. Just type in "breast milk soap" on Taobao, China's biggest e-commerce site, and 88 pages of breast milk-related products are in display.

Apart from those selling soaps made with the breast milk of new mothers — at prices ranging from $3 to $16 — even more sites are selling kits allowing people to make their own. Obviously there is a market, and a big one.

When the Beijing Youth Daily asked whether it was safe for people to use the products, a woman who breastfeeds and sells her own soap responded, "How can it be unhealthy if my own baby is drinking this milk?"

Because these products are homemade and their sales are through the Internet, they elude China's regulatory measures. But one dermatologist told the newspaper, “Whether it's blood or breast milk, they are all body fluids. They may transfer diseases when in contact."

He also said that certain producers add ingredients such as honey to make the soaps smell better. But without appropriate sterilization procedures, these soaps are likely to breed bacteria. "The result is the more one washes, the dirtier one gets!"

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Society

Parenthood And The Pressure Of Always Having To Be Doing Better

As a father myself, I'm now better able to understand the pressures my own dad faced. It's helped me face my own internal demands to constantly be more productive and do better.

Photo of a father with a son on his shoulders

Father and son in the streets of Madrid, Spain

Ignacio Pereyra*

-Essay-

When I was a child — I must have been around eight or so — whenever we headed with my mom and grandma to my aunt's country house in Don Torcuato, outside of Buenos Aires, there was the joy of summer plans. Spending the day outdoors, playing soccer in the field, being in the swimming pool and eating delicious food.

But when I focus on the moment, something like a painful thorn appears in the background: from the back window of the car I see my dad standing on the sidewalk waving us goodbye. Sometimes he would stay at home. “I have to work” was the line he used.

Maybe one of my older siblings would also stay behind with him, but I'm sure there were no children left around because we were all enthusiastic about going to my aunt’s. For a long time in his life, for my old man, those summer days must have been the closest he came to being alone, in silence (which he liked so much) and in calm, considering that he was the father of seven. But I can only see this and say it out loud today.

Over the years, the scene repeated itself: the destination changed — it could be a birthday or a family reunion. The thorn was no longer invisible but began to be uncomfortable as, being older, my interpretation of the events changed. When words were absent, I started to guess what might be happening — and we know how random guessing can be.

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