The dairy industry markets it as "nature's perfect food," but hormones in conventional milk have been linked to cancer. In 2012, a Harvard University study showed that milk produced by factory farms contained dangerously high levels of an estrogen compound linked to testicular, prostate and breast cancers.
However, many studies show nutritional benefits to drinking milk -- especially for kids. What's the answer? Organic milk!
USDA Certified Organic milk protects you from hormones in conventional milk. Studies have shown that it's actually higher in antioxidant-rich, healthy omega-3 fatty acids than conventional milk.
Plus, buying organic milk supports farmers who are producing milk without giving their cows antibiotics, which leads to drug-resistant bacteria. If we all chose organic milk, more farmers would produce it, and the cost would down, both to our wallets and our health. Double bonus!
What's the big deal about antibiotics? For the past 20 years on conventional farms, cows have been given hormones that allow them to be milked constantly, including when they are pregnant. Those hormones -- such as Bovine Growth Hormone, also known as rBGH or rBST -- are suspected in the sharp rise of early puberty for American girls, which puts them at higher risk for breast cancer.
Because dairy cows are hormonally-induced to produce milk about 300 days a year, the possibility of their getting illnesses including mastitis -- basically, an infection of the milk ducts -- increases dramatically. As a precaution, conventional milk producers give these cows prophylactic doses of antibiotics. In fact, as much as 80 percent of America's antibiotics are now given to factory-farmed animals.
The result? Human illnesses caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria now affect more than 2 million Americans each year, killing more than 23,000 people, according to the CDC.
When you look at it like that, organic milk can really make a difference. Yes, it's a little more expensive -- probably about $2 more per gallon, on average. That's about the difference between a coffee you make at home and one you buy from a barista. Worth it? I think so!