Hormones run-of-the-mill in most milk


Virtually all commercial dairies (except those designated “organic”) are using hormones to increase milk production.

Among hormones that have been used are the following:

  • BGH (Bovine Growth Hormone)
  • rBGH (recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone)
  • IGF-1
  • bST (Bovine somatotropin)
  • rBST (recombinant Bovine somatotropin)

Apparently those in greatest use at present are rBGH and IGF-1.

These products are used to increase a cow’s milk production. The recombinant varieties are genetically engineered, and the cows are needle injected with these hormones every two weeks.

To make this synthetic injectant, some tissue is snipped from a cow with DNA that codes for this hormone. This is inserted into the DNA of E. coli bacteria (found in all feces) which is grown in vats, yielding large quantities of rBGH.

Many countries including Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and the Canadian Provinces of Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario have banned commercial use of these hormones.

What do they know that we don’t?

One of the lesser problems from the use of these hormones is the increase of udder infections, clinical mastitis. These cases are treated with antibiotics, which of course find their way into the milk.

According to the General Accounting Office, the Food and Drug Administration has approved of 330 antibiotics for dairy cows and an additional 50 antibiotics are suspected of being used illegally.

In addition to the mastitis, these products are associated with an increase in bovine cystic ovaries, increased digestive disorders such as indigestion, bloat and diarrhea.

Monsanto, the company that introduced these products into the market, has succeeded in convincing the FDA that dairies may not label their milk “free of hormones.” They have convinced the FDA that there is no difference between the milk of treated and non-treated cows, and they maintain that a label saying “rBGH free” would imply a difference that does not exist. Monsanto has sued milk processors who label their product “free of rBGH.”

Some independent studies have already suggested that there is a distinct possibility that the rBGH may lead to allergic reactions in consumers.

Another factor of great concern in hormone-produced milk is that it causes an increase in an insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1.) Although milk ordinarily contains this factor, and although it is necessary for human growth, researchers have found up to 10 times the amount in milk from cows treated with these hormones.

The question remains, what effect does this increased amount have on the human body?

The concern is that because this substance is a growth-promoting factor that it will increase the growth of cancer in humans, especially prostate cancer in men and breast cancer in women.

Like most chemicals, hormones and other additives to our food, this is yet another factor that we must worry about. Like so many cases in the past, the true harm of these substances is not totally revealed until many years later.

I consider this to be human experimentation, and we are the guinea pigs!

Many assurances from the FDA and industry-paid consultants do not convince me of its safety. We know now that bovine growth hormone (BGH) in its many forms is banned in Australia, New Zealand, and Japan.

Also, the European Union has maintained a moratorium on milk products from rBGH and BST treated cows, and such products are not sold in countries within that union.

Even Canada has thus far resisted the pressure from the biotechnology lobby to approve the commercial use of rBGH. Are we so absolutely sure that our science is so much clearer than theirs?

And one more factor concerns me. I mentioned in a previous article that milk produced with these hormones may very well be the reason so many young boys are developing breasts (gynicomastia).

I know that the birth rate in industrial countries has been dropping drastically in the past few years. Could this feminization be a factor?

Until all of these issues are dealt with, I will recommend, and myself use only “organic” milk products.

Retired chiropractic doctor Francis Trapani can be reached at ftrapani@charter.net. His background includes a bachelor of science in agronomy from Penn State University; active practice for 41 years; investigative reporting for many years on stations KTRG and KPOI on Hawaii radio and exercise/fitness yoga TV broadcasts on channel KHVH, also in Hawaii. He has written three books and is working on a fourth, a yoga self-help manual “The Doctor Prescribes Yoga.” For more information, go to drftrapani.com.


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