rBGH is a genetically engineered artificial
hormone injected into dairy cows to make
them produce more milk. Despite opposition from scientists, farmers
and consumers, the US currently allows dairy
cows to be injected with recombinant bovine
growth hormone (rBGH), also known as recombinant
bovine somatotropin (rBST). Originally manufactured by the Monsanto Corporation,
this genetically engineered hormone forces
cows to artificially increase milk production
by 10 to 15 percent. Today, controversy over
safety still surrounds the use of rBGH.
Somatotropin is a naturally occurring hormone
produced in the pituitary gland of animals;
bovine somatotropin (BST) triggers nutrients
to increase growth in young cattle and lactation
(milk production) in dairy cows. Artificial
BST is produced using recombinant DNA technology
(biotechnology), and called rBST for short.
rBST is commonly known as Bovine Growth Hormone
or rBGH. When injected into cows, rBGH increases
milk production 10 to 15 percent. One government
study from 2007 estimated that approximately
17 percent of all cows in the US were given
this artificial growth hormone.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
approved rBGH in 1993, despite criticism
that the effects of rBGH were never properly
assessed. The FDA’s approval was based
solely on one study administered by Monsanto
in which rBGH was tested for 90 days on 30
rats. Although the FDA stated that the results
showed no significant problems, the study
was never actually published.
The FDA continues to assure consumers that
rBGH is safe for cows and humans, despite
evidence to the contrary. In 1994, the FDA
prohibited dairies from claiming there is
any difference between milk from rBGH-injected
cows and milk produced without the artificial
In 1998, an assessment by Health Canada determined
that the results of Monsanto’s 90-day
study provided reason for review before approval
of rBGH. Today, the European Union, Japan , Australia, New Zealand and Canada do not allow the use of rBGH due to animal
and human health concerns.
Animal and Human Risks
A 1991 report by Rural Vermont, a nonprofit
farm advocacy group, revealed that rBGH-injected
cows that were part of a Monsanto-financed
study at the University of Vermont suffered
serious health problems, including an alarming
rise in the number of deformed calves and
dramatic increases in mastitis, a painful
bacterial infection of the udder, which causes
inflammation, swelling, and pus and blood secretions into
milk. These findings are supported by Health Canada’s
1998 report, which concluded that the use
of rBGH increases the risk of mastitis by
25 percent, affects reproductive functions,
increases the risk of clinical lameness by
50 percent, and shortens the lives of cows.
To treat mastitis outbreaks, the dairy industry
relies on antibiotics. GCritics of rBGH point to the subsequent increase
in antibiotic use (which contributes to the
growing problem of antibiotic resistant bacteria)
and inadequacies in the federal government’s
testing program for antibiotic residues in
Milk from rBGH-treated cows contains higher
levels of IGF-1 (Insulin Growth Factor-1).
While humans naturally have IGF-1, elevated
levels in humans have been linked to colon
and breast cancer. Although no direct connection
has been made between elevated IGF-1 levels
in milk and elevated IGF-1 levels or cancer
in humans, some scientists have expressed
concern over the possibility of this relationship.
On the Offense
While the FDA was lax in its review of rBGH,
Monsanto aggressively attempted to suppress
reports about the health risks involved in
the use of the drug. In 2001, Jane Akre and
Steve Wilson, two respected investigative
journalists at a Fox News television station
in Tampa, Florida, were fired after months
of controversy surrounding their investigative
report on rBGH use in Florida dairies. According
to the journalists, the station delayed airing
their story and demanded they include inaccurate
information about rBGH after Monsanto threatened
the station with legal action.
In 2003, Monsanto asked the state of Maine
to stop issuing an official Quality Seal,
which the state only granted to dairies that
do not use rBGH. Maine refused. Later that
year, Monsanto sued Oakhurst Dairy, Maine’s
largest dairy operation, over its rBGH-free
labels. Ultimately, Oakhurst changed its
labels, adding the statement, "FDA States:
No significant difference in milk from cows
treated with artificial growth hormone."
Nonetheless, Monsanto lobbied the Canadian
government to win rBGH approval. Dr. Margaret
Hayden, a Health Canada researcher, reported
to the Canadian Senate that officials from
Monsanto had offered between $1 million to
$2 million to Health Canada scientists—an
offer she says could only be understood as
an attempted bribe.
The Revolving Door
Given the potential danger to the milk-drinking
public and the proven danger to cows, critics
argue that the FDA’s approval of rBGH
was the result of pressure placed on the
agency by Monsanto and its powerful lobbyists.
Dr. Richard Burroughs, a senior FDA scientist
overseeing the rBGH safety studies, claims
he was fired because his concerns about the
safety of rBGH delayed the approval process.
Critics also note the existence of a "revolving
door" between the FDA and Monsanto.
For example, Michael Taylor, the FDA official
responsible for writing the labeling guidelines,
had worked as a Monsanto lawyer before joining
the FDA. Likewise, the deputy director of
the FDA’s New Animal Drugs Office had
been a Monsanto research scientist working
on rBGH safety studies, while another researcher
in the same office had conducted Monsanto-funded
rBGH research at Cornell University, working
under a paid Monsanto consultant. Congress'
General Accounting Office ruled in 1994 that
none of these cases of longstanding connections
to Monsanto posed a conflict of interest.
In the News Today
Despite the efforts of Monsanto and the dairy
industry to promote rBGH, farmers, the public
has largely rejected the artificial hormone.
In response to growing consumer concern,
some dairies label their milk as "rBGH-free"
or "No artificial growth hormones."
In attempt to make these labeling practices
illegal, a pseudo "grassroots"
nonprofit called American Farmers for the
Advancement and Conservation of Technology
(AFACT) was formed in February 2008. Created by a public relations firm founded
by two ex-Monsanto employees, AFACT received
funding from Monsanto before it was dissolved
The fight over milk labels took place across
the US; attempts to ban rBGH-free labeling
- Pennsylvania: In October 2007, the Pennsylvania
Department of Agriculture outlawed hormone-free
labeling, claiming the labels are "false"
and "misleading" to consumers.
In reaction to public outcry, Governor Ed
Rendell allowed hormone-free labeling to
be reinstated in January 2008.
- Ohio: In February 2008, Ohio Agriculture
Director, Robert Boggs, approved the use
of rBGH-free labeling only if the FDA’s
disclaimer, "no significant difference
has been shown between milk derived from
rBST-supplemented and non-rbST-supplemented
cows," was also included, in a way that
made labeling virtually impossible. However, in October 2010 a federal court
overturned the rBGH labeling rule: the Court
of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit stated that
there is a "compositional difference"
between milk from cows receiving growth hormone
and those that don’t, and ruled that
companies are free to label their products
as "rBGH free" and "rBST free."
- Indiana: In 2008, the Indiana legislature
considered a bill to make artificial hormone-free
labeling illegal, claiming milk would be
"misbranded" if "compositional
claims cannot be confirmed through laboratory
analysis."#FN_3128 The bill did not
pass the legislature.
- Kansas: In 2009, the Kansas legislature passed
a bill that deemed any milk, milk product
or dairy product label with a statement related
to milk composition including "No Hormones,"
"Hormone Free," "rBST Free,"
"rBGH Free," and "BST Free"
as false and misleading. Governor Kathleen Sebelius vetoed the bill.
Similar labeling controversies took place
in Missouri, New Jersey, Utah and Vermont,
but ultimately, no state made it illegal
to label milk or dairy products as rBGH-free.
Despite industry efforts to keep consumers
in the dark, food producers and suppliers
have been listening to consumer concerns.
In 2007, United States grocery chains Kroger and Safeway prohibited the use of rBGH-treated milk in
their store-branded dairy products. In January
2008, Starbucks stopped using rBGH-treated milk, and in March
2008, WalMart prohibited rBGH use in their store-brand
milk products. In August 2008, Monsanto sold
the division of the corporation that produces
rBGH to Eli Lilly.
Saturate a cotton ball with silver solution
and apply to lip. Keep the solution in contact
with the sore for 5-20 min. or more, the
longer the better. Repeat two or three times
per day. It is most effective at the first
sign of a cold sore. Under these conditions,
the cold sore may never get to the blister
stage, but often disappears in one to three
days...." ... see this below ...
"In a 1989 letter to the FDA, I warned that the effects of IGF-1 "could include premature growth stimulation in infants, [breast enlargement] in young children and breast cancer in adult females." More recently, the Council on Scientific Affairs of the American Medical Association stated: "Further studies will be required to determine whether the ingestion of higher than normal concentrations of bovine insulin-like growth factor is safe for children, adolescents and adults." (AMA, 1991)..." see this below ...
"Given the potential health impacts
of consumption of milk and other dairy products
derived from rBGH treated cows, all such products at a minimum be labeled
so that consumers are aware of what they
are purchasing and consuming. "
(read the text below)
Growth Hormones Would Endanger Milk
Los Angeles Times, July 27, 1989
FDA Ignores Evidence on Cancer Risks
With the Food and Drug Administration ready
to approve the use of genetically engineered
growth hormones in cows to boost milk production,
concerns are mounting among dairy farmers,
state legislatures, animal-rights activists
and consumer and public-interest groups.
These hormones, known as rBGH, are manufactured
by chemical companies - Monsanto, American
Cyanamid, Upjohn and Eli Lilly together with
Dow - who anticipate $500-million annual
Their promotional hype claims that the hormones
are natural," that they are not found
in milk, that they increase milk yields up
to 25%, that they do not harm cows, that
they do not alter milk quality and that they
are safe for humans. The FDA also agrees
that bovine growth hormones are safe and
have allowed the sale of unlabeled milk and
meat from rBGH cows for about five years.
These claims, which are based on industry-contracted
research at more than 20 U.S. university
dairy science departments, are misleading
in the extreme.
Apart from the national surplus of milk
and anticipated foreclosure of thousands
of small dairy farms if milk production is
increased and milk prices reduced, the effectiveness of bovine growth hormones
is exaggerated. Furthermore, the nutritional quality of
milk and cheese is altered; fat is increased
and casein decreased. Stress effects have
been noted in cows hyper-stimulated by rBGH.
These include increased susceptibility to
infection, infertility, loss of fat, heat
intolerance and "burnout" or lactational
failure; severe stress diseases including
gastric ulcers, arthritis and kidney and
heart abnormalities have also been induced
in pigs. Additionally, bovine growth hormones
are likely to be misused as a growth promoter
in calves, pigs and sheep, particularly as
there are no practical methods for detecting
the hormone in meat, and in view of the abusive
track record of the meat industry regarding
hormonal and other feed additives.
Apart from economic and veterinary concerns,
bovine growth hormones pose grave consumer
health risks that have not been investigated
by the industry or FDA.
-Bovine growth hormones are not "natural."
The FDA now admits that they are up to "3%
different in molecular structure" from
the normal hormone. Increased rBGH levels in milk and blood have
been found in injected cows. rBGH and its
digested products could be absorbed from
milk into blood, particularly in infants,
and produce hormonal and allergic effects.
-Increased levels of cell-stimulating growth
factors, apparently identical to those in
humans, have been reported in rBGH milk.
These could induce premature growth and breast
stimulation in infants, and possibly promote
breast cancer in adults.
-Increased bacterial infections in rBGH
cows will require treatment with antibiotics
that will pass into milk. This is likely
to result in antibiotic-resistant infections
in the general population. Also, the stress
effects of bovine growth hormones in cows
could suppress immunity and activate latent
viruses, such as bovine leukemia (Leukosis)
and bovine immunodeficiency viruses, which
are related to the AIDS complex and may be
infectious to humans.
-Steroids and adrenaline-type stressor chemicals
induced in cows by these hormones are likely
to contaminate milk and may be harmful, particularly
to infants and young children.
-The fat and milk of cows are already contaminated
with a wide range of carcinogenic contaminants,
including dioxins and pesticides. Bovine
growth hormones reduce body fat and are likely
to mobilize these carcinogens into milk,
with cancer risks to consumers.
What is to be done? State legislatures should
be pressured to ban rBGH. The FDA should
be petitioned to ban the manufacture, domestic
sale and export of the hormones until all
safety questions can be resolved. Congressional
oversight should focus on industry's
misleading and self-interested claims on
rBGH, and the FDA's regulatory abdication.
Finally, consumers should recognize these
hormones as industry's latest unsafe
contribution to the brave new world of chemicalized
food and mechanized farming.
Statement by the Cancer Prevention Coalition
on IGF-1 and Breast and Colon Cancer
January 23, 1996
The FDA has ignored the wide range of converging
evidence that associates increased consumption
of insulin growth factor-1 (IGF- 1), which
increases in milk from rBGH treated cows,
with a potential risk of breast and other
types of cancer.
Published research shows that rBGH use on
dairy cows induces a marked and sustained
increase in levels of insulin-like growth
factor-1, or IGF-1, in cow’s milk.
This is admitted by FDA (Juskevich &
Guyer, 1990), and more explicitly by others
(Prosser 1988; Prosser 1989; Mepham, 1992).
A recent admission by another manufacturer
of rBGH (Eli Lilly & Co.) reports a ten
fold increase in IGF-1 levels. Furthermore,
there is suggestive evidence that IGF- 1
in rBGH milk is more bioactive than in non-hormonal
milk (Mepham, 1992).
IGF-1 regulates cell growth, division and
differentiation, particularly in children.
Human and normal bovine IGF-1 are identical,
they are largely bound in protein and thus
probably less biologically active than unbound
IGF1 in rBGH derived milk.
IGF-1 is not destroyed by pasteurization.
In fact this process substantially increases
IGF-1 levels in milk. (Juskevich and Guyer,
1990). Nor is IGF-1 destroyed by digestion.
Moreover, FDA admits that IGF-1 is readily
absorbed across the intestinal wall (Juskevich
& Guyer, 1990); this was also previously
admitted by Monsanto in 1987. Further confirmation
is also provided by other authorities (e.g.
Mepham, 1992). Additionally, recent research
indicates that IGF-1 can be absorbed into
the bloodstream where it can effect other
hormones. (Donovan and Odle, 1994)
FDA and other industry sources have not
published any detailed studies on the oral
toxicity of IGF-1 Rather, they have consistently
refused to make available their findings
and raw data. A highly condensed summary
of an IGF- 1 Monsanto short term test in
mature rats was released by FDA (Juskevich
& Guyer, 1990). The agency alleges that
this study confirms IGF- 1's "lack
of oral activity." At the outset it
should be noted that the Monsanto test was
contracted out to Hazelton Laboratories,
which has a two decade history of misrepresentation
of scientific data. (Epstein, 1978). However,
even the cited Monsanto/Hazelton data explicitly
reveal statistically significant evidence
of growth promoting effects. Feeding relatively
low doses of IGF-1 to mature rats for only
two weeks resulted in statistically significant
and biologically highly significant systemic
effects: increased body weight; increased
liver weight; increased bone length; and
decreased epiphyseal width. These results
are confirmatory of prior theoretical predictions.
The FDA has completely failed to investigate
the effects of long-term feeding of IGF-
1 and treated milk on growth, or on more
sensitive sub-cellular effects, in infant
rats or infants of any other species.
Significantly, cows injected with rBGH show
heavy localization of IGF-l in breast (udder)
epithelial cells; this does not occur in
untreated cows. (Furlanetto, et al, 1984;
Gregor, et al, 1985; Campbell, et al, 1986.)
IGF-1 induces rapid division and multiplication
of normal human breast epithelial cells in
tissue cultures. It is highly likely that
IGF- 1 promotes transformation of normal
breast epithelium to breast cancers. (Furlanetto,
et al, 1984; Harris, et al, 1992, growth
factors such as IGF-1 "are responsible
at least in part for the evolution of normal
breast epithelia to breast cancer...').
Moreover, IGF-1 maintains the malignancy
of human breast cancer cells, including their
invasiveness and ability to spread to distant
organs. (Lippman, 1991, 1993). IGF-l has
been similarly associated with colon cancer
(Tricolo, et al, 1986).
The undifferentiated pre-natal and infant
breast is particularly susceptible to hormonal
influences. (Ekbom, et al. 1992) Such imprinting
by IGF-1 may increase future breast cancer
risks, and may also increase the sensitivity
of the breast to subsequent unrelated risks
such as mammography and the carcinogenic
and estrogen-like effects of pesticide residues
in food, particularly in pre-menopausal women.
(Elwood, et al, 1993).
Concerns about increased levels of IGF-
1 in milk from cows treated with rBGH are
not new. In 1990, the National Institutes
of Health (NIH) Consensus panel on rBGH expressed
concerns on adverse health effects of IGF-1
in rBGH milk, calling for further study on
the treated milk's impacts, especially
on infants. (NIH, 1991). In a 1989 letter
to the FDA, I warned that the effects of
IGF-1 "could include premature growth stimulation
in infants, [breast enlargement] in young
children and breast cancer in adult females."
More recently, the Council on Scientific
Affairs of the American Medical Association
stated: "Further studies will be required
to determine whether the ingestion of higher
than normal concentrations of bovine insulin-like
growth factor is safe for children, adolescents
and adults." (AMA, 1991). Instead of further study,
the FDA allowed for uncontrolled, unlabeled
sales of treated milk to unwitting consumers.
Given the potential health impacts of consumption
of milk and other dairy products derived
from rBGH treated cows, all such products
at a minimum be labeled so that consumers
are aware of what they are purchasing and
consuming. More prudently the FDA approval of rBGH
should be withdrawn until the agency performs
adequate long term testing on the impacts
of increased levels of IGF- 1 in milk and
other dairy products derived from rBGH treated
cows.... (Please click through the heading to this
full text and source)
Effects of rBGH 'Bovine Growth Hormones on Humans
Your Health And Tech Friend
An Internet Magazine
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(This article is below)
One year's record of my pH - goes from acidic to alkaline... Your Health
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Your Health And Tech Friend
An Internet Magazine
"Wait And See" Is Not Acceptable Medical Advice