A survey released last week by a national allergy & asthma specialists' association named the city in which I live, Knoxville, TN, as being the worst place in the country for people with asthma. We have very poor air quality here, due to numerous coal burning energy plants, high auto emissions, and other factors. So it's a bad place for folks who suffer from asthma, and people who live here are at higher risk for developing asthma.

This story was on the front page of the local newspaper, the lead story on the local TV news, etc

But as usual, no mention was made of the fact that exclusive breastfeeding (meaning only mother's milk for at least six months) significantly lower's a child's risk for developing asthma.

I've talked to a number of people in the past week who have kids with asthma or "pre-asthma" type symptoms, like wheezing, etc. The topic of this new survey comes up and these folks go on and on about how the air quality here is so bad for asthmatics, etc, etc

Not a one seems to have ever been told by their pediatrician or anyone else that formula feeding increased their kids' likelihood for getting this dangerous disorder. If I ever-so-gingerly mention it (aware, as I am that discussing one's infant feeding choice is as touchy as talking about religion or politics), they generally dismiss it out of hand ( a la the ubiquitous, "you can make those studies say just about anything").

So here's my question: why is it ok to make me - a mother who chooses to subject her kids to the dirty air here in east Tennessee "feel guilty" about her choice of locale by releasing this study, but NOT ok to make women who choose not to breastfeed "feel guilty" by telling them that infant formula raises their kids' risks for asthma?