American Public Health Association: Ban Genetically Engineered Hormonal rBGH Milk, Meat Adulterated With Sex Hormones

The Cancer Prevention Coalition has announced that the Governing Council of the American Public Health Association has voted to oppose the sale of hormonal rBGH milk, and meat adulterated with hormones.
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The Cancer Prevention Coalition is pleased to announce that the Governing Council of the American Public Health Association has voted to oppose the continued sale and use of genetically engineered hormonal rBGH milk, and also meat adulterated with sex hormones. This decision is based on long-standing scientific and public policy information developed and published by the Cancer Prevention Coalition over the last two decades, as summarized below.

This hormone is injected in about 20 percent of U.S. dairy cows to increase milk production. While the industry claims that the hormone is safe for cows, and that the milk is safe for consumers, this is blatantly false.

  • rBGH makes cows sick. Monsanto has been forced to admit to about 20 toxic veterinary effects, including mastitis, on the label of Posilac (rBGH,) which is injected in cows to increase milk production. Monsanto's Posilac product was acquired by Eli Lilly in 2008.

  • rBGH milk is contaminated by pus, due to mastitis, an udder infection commonly induced by the hormone, and also by antibiotics used to treat the mastitis.
  • rBGH milk is chemically and nutritionally different than natural milk.
  • Milk from cows injected with rBGH is contaminated with the hormone, traces of which are absorbed through the gut into the blood of people who consume this milk or its products.
  • rBGH milk is supercharged with high levels of the natural growth factor (IGF-1), which is readily absorbed through the gut.
  • Excess levels of IGF-1 have been incriminated in well-documented scientific publications by the Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition as causes of breast, colon, and prostate cancers. Additionally, IGF-1 blocks natural defense mechanisms against early submicroscopic cancers.
  • Cancer Prevention Coalition Chairman Samuel S. Epstein, M.D. says, "These warnings, and related information were updated in my 2006 book, What's in Your Milk (TRAFFORD Publishing) supported by over 320 references, and endorsed by Jeffrey Smith, Executive Director, Institute for Responsible Technology, and by Dr. Quentin Young, Past President American Public Health Association."

    Warnings by the Cancer Prevention Coalition of these risks in 1990 have been endorsed by the National Family Farm Coalition, representing 30 organizations, and also by the Campaign Against rBS, representing 10 organizations.

    A 2007 Cancer Prevention Coalition petition to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), "Seeking Withdrawal of the New Animal Drug application for rBST," was endorsed by the Organic Consumers Association, Farm Defenders, and the Institute for Responsible Technology. However, the FDA failed to responded to or act on this petition. This petition was endorsed by the Organic Consumers Association, the Family Farm Defenders, and the Institute for Responsible Technology.

    Furthermore, the FDA has remained indifferent to these risks, in spite of longstanding Congressional concerns. Illustrative is the 1986 Congressional report, "Human Food Safety and Regulation of Animal Drugs," by the House Committee on Government Operations. This report concluded that the "FDA has consistently disregarded its responsibility... has repeatedly put what it perceives are interests of veterinarians and the livestock industry ahead of its legal obligations to protect consumers - jeopardizing the health and safety of consumers of meat and milk."

    Of particular concern are risks to infants and children in view of their high susceptibility to cancer-causing ingredients in consumer products.

    These risks are readily avoidable by consuming organic milk. According to The Hartman Group, a prominent Seattle consulting firm, organic milk is now among the first organic product that consumers buy. Organic milk is becoming increasingly available, with an annual growth rate of about 20 percent, while overall milk consumption is dropping by 10 percent.

    Nevertheless, only a few schools make organic milk available, nor do most state governments, under low-income food programs, particularly by the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children."

    Wal-Mart is now the biggest seller of certified organic milk, followed by Horizon Organic, owned by Dean Foods, the nation's largest dairy producer, and by Groupe Danone, the leading French dairy company. While growth in this market is still held back by the higher price of organic milk, this problem is likely to be resolved by Wal-Mart's competitive pricing.

    In sharp contrast to the United States, the European Union nations, as well as Norway, Switzerland, New Zealand, Japan, and Canada, all have banned the use and imports of hormonal milk and dairy products.

    This information was recently sent by the Cancer Prevention Coalition to state governors, besides senior officials in all 50 state health departments as well as to senior federal officials in all relevant agencies, and also staff members of relevant Congressional committees.

    It is anticipated that Dr. Margaret Hamburg, the highly respected new Commissioner of the FDA, will take prompt action to protect the unsuspecting public from the dangers of rBST milk.

    Beef produced in the United States is heavily contaminated with natural or synthetic sex hormones, which are associated with an increased risk of reproductive and childhood cancers.

    Increased levels of sex hormones are linked to the escalating incidence of reproductive cancers in the United States since 1975 - 60 percent for prostate, 59 percent for testis, and 10 percent for breast, warns the Cancer Prevention Coalition.

    The hormones in past and current use include the natural estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, and the synthetic zeranol, trenbolone, and melengesterol.

    When beef cattle enter feedlots, pellets of these hormones are implanted under the ear skin, a process that is repeated at the midpoint of their 100-day pre-slaughter fattening period. These hormones increase carcass weight, adding over $80 in extra profit per animal.

    The Cancer Prevention Coalition warned that, "Not surprisingly, but contrary to longstanding claims by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), residues of these hormones in meat are up to 20-fold higher than normal. Still higher residues result from the not uncommon illegal practice of implantation directly into muscle. Furthermore, contrary to misleading assurances, meat is still not monitored for hormone residues." Nevertheless, the FDA and USDA still maintain that hormone residues in meat are within "normal levels," while waiving any requirements for residue testing.

    Following a single ear implant in steers of Synovex-S, a combination of estrogen and progesterone, residues of these hormones in meat were found to be up to 20-fold higher than normal.

    The amount of estradiol in two hamburgers eaten in one day by an 8-year-old boy could increase his total hormone levels by as much as 10%, particularly as young children have very low natural hormone levels. Not surprisingly, the coalition warns, the incidence of childhood cancer has increased by 38 percent since 1975.

    These concerns are not new. As evidenced in a series of General Accountability Office investigations and Congressional hearings, FDA residue-tolerance programs and USDA inspections are in near total disarray, aggravated by brazen denials and cover-ups.

    A January 1986 report, "Human Food Safety and the Regulation of Animal Drugs," unanimously approved by the House Committee on Government Operations, concluded that "the FDA has consistently disregarded its responsibility - has repeatedly put what is perceives are interests of veterinarians and the livestock industry ahead of its legal obligation to protect consumers, thus jeopardizing the health and safety of consumers of meat, milk and poultry."

    On January 1, 1989, the European Community placed a ban on meat imports from animals treated with growth inducing hormones. This had a direct impact on the U.S. beef industry, which used the hormones in more than half of the cattle sent to market each year.

    Twenty years later, on May 6, 2009, the European Union and the United States settled their long- running dispute over hormone-treated beef. Under terms of the four-year deal the EU will be permitted to maintain its ban on hormone-fed beef. In return, the EU has agreed to increase the amount of hormone-free beef that can be imported from the U.S. without duty.

    It is well recognized that American women have a greater risk of breast cancer than women in countries that do not permit the sale of hormonal beef.

    On November 4, 2009, the Cancer Prevention Coalition submitted a 10/21/09 press release on "Hormones in U.S. Beef Linked to Increased Cancer Risks," and a 10/28/09 release on "Dr. Epstein's 20 Year Fight Against Biotech Cancer Causing Milk" to Katie McCormick, Press Secretary to First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama; to Jocelyn Frey, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Policy; and to Sam Kass, White House Food Initiative Coordinator and the Obama family's personal chef at the White House. Replies are pending.