Do Genetically Modified Hormones Given to Dairy Cows Pose a Health Hazard?
The answer to the above question is unfortunately a resounding "maybe" according to researchers writing in the current issue of The Western Journal of Medicine.
"Milk from cows treated with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH in the US, rBST in Europe) has significantly elevated IGF-I levels," state physician Joseph Mercola and researcher Cory Mermer. IGF-I (insulin-like growth factor-I) is a growth factor responsible for a wide variety of biological functions.
"In addition, the IGF-I in the milk of rBGH-treated cows is potentially more bioactive than the naturally occurring form, and this bioactivity may be increased further by pasteurization," they continue.
Children may be particularly vulnerable to adverse effects, because of their rapid growth rate and their more permeable intestinal tract. In addition, other segments of society may also be at an increased risk, such as those with celiac disease, Crohn's disease, autism, cirrhosis, cow's milk allergy, and people taking certain medications.
"It is not enough to look at healthy adults and say that the intestinal absorption of IGF-I is negligible. Rather, the vulnerable in society need to be protected," state the authors. "Let's not put corporate profits ahead of children's health. The use of growth hormones in livestock has certainly not been proven safe, and no overriding benefits would justify such risks."
Increased IGF-1 levels are not the only concern when it comes to "genetically modified" (GM) milk, says Samuel Epstein, MD, Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition.
"This milk is qualitatively and quantitatively different from natural milk," states Epstein. "In addition to the issue of increased IGF-1 levels, these differences include:
contamination of milk by the GM hormone rBGH;
contamination by pus and antibiotics resulting from the high incidence of mastitis in rBGH injected cows;
contamination with illegal antibiotics and drugs used to treat mastitis and other rBGH-induced disease;
increased concentration of the thyroid hormone enzyme thyroxin-5'-monodeiodinase; increased concentration of long chain and decreased concentration of short chain fatty acids;
and a reduction in levels of the milk protein casein."
Dr. Epstein has recently completed his latest book, which is entitled Got (Genetically Engineered) Milk? The Monsanto rBGH/BST Milk Wars Handbook, and is available as an eBook at Seven Stories Press.
For additional information please see the full text version of the letter on the journal’s website at http://www.ewjm.com/cgi/content/full/175/6/378 or contact Dr. Epstein (see contact info below).
Source: Western Journal of Medicine, December 2001;175:378-379.
Samuel Epstein, MD, Chairman, Cancer Prevention Coalition, Professor of Environmental Medicine, University of Illinois School of Public Health, Phone: (312) 996-2297, Fax: (312) 996-1374, Email: email@example.com, URL: http://preventcancer.com.