"Recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) is a synthetic (man-made) hormone that is marketed to dairy farmers to increase milk production in cows. It has been used in the United States since it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1993, but its use is not permitted in the European Union, Canada, and some other countries." - The American Cancer SocietyEven before I turned to green living, rBGH, was a no no in my home. It certainly did not seem like a good idea to inject cows with growth hormone as I immediately felt it would end up in us and start messing with our hormones. Little did I know that hormone disruption was just the beginning of the troubles rBGH can cause. For that matter, I had no idea that Monsanto is so good at positioning their people in the FDA so that the US is one of the few countries that allow rBGH to be used. After looking into the research, Monsanto's rBGH creation was one of the green tides that helped turn me into an advocate of nonGMO organics.
So let's break this down. The concerns about possible ill health effects on humans from milk produced using rBGH have focused on 3 main issues.
First, does drinking milk from rBGH-treated cows increase blood levels of growth hormone in consumers? If it does, would this be expected to have any health effects in people, including increasing the risk of cancer?
Second, is there an increased rosk of cancer from drinking milk from a cow treated with rBGH?
Third, cows treated with rBGH tend to develop more udder infections (mastitis). These cows are given more antibiotics than cows not given rBGH. Does this increased use of antibiotics lead to more antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and is this a health concern for people?
Well it turns out that Bovine growth hormone levels are not significantly higher in milk from rBGH-treated cows. The word form our scientific community is that BGH is not active in humans, so even if it were absorbed from drinking milk, it wouldn't be expected to cause health effects. Hmmm, sounds fishy to me but that is what the science tells us. So on to the next concern, Cancer.
The American Cancer Society tell us that, at this time, it is not clear that drinking milk, produced with or without rBGH treatment, increases blood IGF-1 levels into a range that might be of concern regarding cancer risk or other health effects. Okay, so not a perfect response but certainly helps alleviate the concern a bit. So on to the last item of concern with rBGH, antibiotic resistance in humnas that consume rBGH milk.
Guess what? The increased use of antibiotics to treat rBGH-induced mastitis does promote the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, but the extent to which these are transmitted to humans is unclear. Great right?
So what should you do? Luckily, many grocery stores have stopped carrying milk form cows treated with rBGH so be sure to check your local market. You can also buy raw milk at a farm near you (unpasteurized) or buy organic as I do. The antibiotic resistance is just too big of a concern to not have it totally resolved. Furthermore, As Monsanto asserts GMO's are safe, genetically engineered toxin Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is found in the blood of pregnant women and baby's cordblood. Remember, the vast majority of corn (over 80%) that is grown in the US is GMO (genetically modified) and what are most cows fed these days? Corn. We do not want to consume GMO's as we do not know the risks to having the GMO toxin us. There are no studies from which we can draw our conclusion.
So what to do to stay safe?
You have to buy nonGMO and organic meat and milk to get away from cows raised on GMO. To make living green just a little bit easier, I recommend that consumers buy nonGMO and organic to best insure a clean food supply.
P.S.- Have you heard about The Green PolkaDot Box !
Launching soon and backed by the Organic Consumer's Association, you can buy organics at wholesale pricing. It's like a Sam's club but focused on products for green, healthy living!! You can even shop by dietary restrictions like gluten free, vegan or diabetic. Check it out before 10-17-11, watch a video and you can get a FREE membership !!!!
Sources: American Cancer Society , ISAAA , Organic Pastures,