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- rBGH adds cancer risks to American milk
- No labeling of rBGH required on U. S. milk containers
European Scientific Committee Warns of Serious Risks of Breast and Prostate Cancer from Monsanto's Hormonal Milk.
Press Release March 21, 99
The European Commission (EC) has just released a report by its authoritative international 16-member scientific committee, based on meticulous scientific documentation, confirming excess levels of the naturally occurring Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1) in milk of cows injected with Monsanto's biotech hormone (rBGH). The report concludes that the excess levels of IGF-1 pose serious risks of breast and prostate cancer. "Experimental evidence for an association between IGF-1 and breast and prostate cancer is supported by epidemiological -- evidence arising from recently published cohort studies -- ." The report also warns that excess levels of IGF-1 may promote the growth and invasiveness of any cancer by inhibiting programmed self-destruction of cancer cells (apoptosis), and that contamination of milk with residues of antibiotics used to treat mastitis in rBGH cows is likely to spread antibiotic resistant infections in the general population. The EC human health report finally emphasized the need for additional investigation of several other potential risks of rBGH milk. A parallel EC report also warns of serious veterinary risks of rBGH. It may be noted that FDA has ignored such evidence reported in detail by the author in peer reviewed scientific publications over the last decade. The EC warnings are in sharp conflict with the policies of the Food and Drug Administration, largely based on unpublished and confidential Monsanto claims, that hormonal milk is safe. As seriously, the report raises serious questions on the competence and conflicts of interest of Codex, the WHO organization responsible for setting international food safety standards, which has given an unqualified clean bill of health to rBGH milk. It should further be emphasized that senior FDA officials and industry consultants are members of Codex, which meets in secrecy and relies on unpublished industry assurances of safety. Interlocking relationships between U.S. and Canadian regulatory officials and Codex are matters of critical concern to U.S. consumers and global food safety.
Faced with escalating rates of breast and prostate cancers, besides other avoidable public health hazards, FDA should immediately withdraw its approval of rBGH milk whose sale benefits only Monsanto while posing major public health risks for the entire U.S. population. A Congressional investigation of
FDA's abdication of responsibility and of its reliance on Codex authority for food safety, analogous to that recently conducted on rBGH milk by the Canadian Parliament, is well overdue.
Samuel S. Epstein, M.D.
Cancer Prevention Coalition
c/o University of Illinois at Chicago
School of Public Health, MC 922
2121 W. Taylor Street
Chicago, IL 60612