Got Milk Causing Cancer?
Which Milk May be Dangerous …
If you’re like most American families, you enjoy milk, cheese, ice cream and other dairy products on a regular basis. You probably perceive them to be healthy staples, full of calcium, protein and other nutrients to support your family’s health.
You should know, however, that U.S. dairy products may not be as pure as they seem. Instead, they commonly contain a genetically modified ingredient -- Monsanto’s genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST) -- that has been linked to so many health hazards in humans and animals it’s banned in most other industrialized nations, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the European Union.
Cancer Risks and More: What Does the Research Say About rBGH?
Many U.S. dairy farmers use Monsanto’s rBGH because it boosts milk production by about 10 percent. But this increase in production does not come without a price.
As GMO expert Jeffrey Smith, international bestselling author of Seeds of Deception and Genetic Roulette, explains in the video above, milk from cows treated with rBGH has increased levels of insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), with levels up to 10 times as high as those in milk from untreated cows.
This hormone has been linked to increased risks of breast, prostate, colon, lung, and other cancers. According to the Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT), founded by Jeffrey Smith:
“Studies suggest that pre-menopausal women below 50 years old with high levels of IGF-1 are seven times more likely to develop breast cancer. Men are four times more likely to develop prostate cancer. IGF-1 is implicated in lung and colon cancer.”
The hormone has also been linked to an increased rate of fraternal twin births in humans.
Milk from cows injected with rBGH is also less nutritious and has more antibiotics and pus in it than milk from untreated cows. The pus comes from infected udders, as cows given rBGH are more likely to experience a painful udder infection called mastitis. These infections are in turn treated with antibiotics, leading to increased rates of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the milk, the people who drink it and the surrounding environments.
rBGH is NOT on Dairy Labels for a Reason
Milk and other dairy products that contain rBGH does not have to be labeled as such, which means you have no way of knowing whether or not it’s in your milk. Some manufacturers, noting the increased health risks and the growing consumer opposition to rBGH, have begun adding statements such as “No artificial growth hormones” to their labels to let you know it’s rBGH free.
Monsanto fought back against this labeling, going so far as to sue a dairy in 2003 that labeled their milk cartons with “Our Farmers’ Pledge: No Artificial Growth Hormones.” The suit was settled when the dairy agreed to add a statement to their packages that said, “according to the FDA no significant difference has been shown between milk derived from [rBGH]-treated and non- treated cows.”
This is not true, according to IRT, as the FDA and Monsanto both knew of increased rates of IGF-1, pus and antibiotic residues in milk from treated cows. However, the statement became a requirement for all labels that dared say they were rBGH-free nonetheless.
Further, the misleading statement was written by none other than the FDA’s deputy commissioner of policy, Michael Taylor who, according to IRT, was “previously Monsanto’s outside attorney who, after running policy at the FDA, became vice president of Monsanto.”
There were other unscrupulous dealings that went on behind the scenes as well. For instance, back in 1997 when Fox news wanted to air a news series on the link between rBGH and cancer, Monsanto attorneys threatened “dire consequences” if the show aired.
As Jeffrey Smith wrote in Seeds of Deception, one of the world’s best-selling books on GMO:
“The Fox news series included an excerpt from Canadian national television in which a government official described how a Monsanto representative offered her committee a $1 to 2 million bribe if they recommended rbGH approval in Canada without further data or studies of the drug. A Monsanto spokesman said the officials misunderstood their company’s offer of “research” funds.”
And according to IRT, “The reporters who had created the series later testified that they were offered hush money to leave the station and never speak about the story again. They declined.” The series never aired.
How to Find rBGH-Free Dairy
Americans are increasingly looking for pure, rBGH-free sources of dairy. In surveys:
- 80 percent of consumers have said they believe dairy products from cows not treated with rBGH should be allowed to be labeled as such
- 76 percent said they were very concerned or somewhat concerned with dairy cows given synthetic growth hormones
- 55 percent said they would buy milk labeled without synthetic bovine growth hormone if available
Already, 50 of the top 100 dairies have decided not to use rBGH in their milk, and companies like Wal-Mart, Kroger, Starbucks, Yoplait and Dannon have also pledged to go rBGH-free.
Many major food manufacturers have not followed suit, however, so it’s still a buyer beware market. If you want to find rBGH-free dairy, the following resources will help:
It’s important that you use your power as a shopper to voice your opinions about potentially dangerous genetically modified ingredients like rBGH.
If you find the use of this cancer-causing hormone to be unacceptable, please support the brands that are rBGH-free in the guides above, and boycott those that are still buying milk from rBGH-treated cows.
Institute for Responsible Technology
Organic Consumers Association
Surveys of Consumer Attitudes (PSR) PDF