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Tue Jun 27 09:05:47 2006 Pacific Time
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      Hormonal Milk Poses Greater Risks Than Just Twinning -- by Samuel Epstein, M.D.

       CHICAGO, June 27 (AScribe Newswire) -- Following is commentary by Samuel S. Epstein, M.D., professor emeritus of environmental and occupational medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health and Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition. Epstein is author of the new book, "What's in Your Milk?"

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       As widely covered in the national media, a recent article by Dr. Gary Steinman in The Journal of Reproductive Medicine reported that women drinking milk and eating dairy products from cows injected with Monsanto's genetically engineered growth hormone drug are up to five times more likely to risk giving birth to fraternal twins than non-dairy product vegans.

       This news is hardly surprising. Hormonal milk contains up to ten-fold increased levels of the natural Insulin-like Growth Factor, known as IGF, long known to increase ovulation and twinning rates in cows. The hormone also makes cows sick. Monsanto has been forced to admit to 20 toxic veterinary effects on its drug label.

       Monsanto has also recently admitted that about one third of dairy cows in the nation are now in herds where the hormone is used.

       Hormonal milk is very different than natural milk. Hormonal milk is often contaminated with pus cells, resulting from mastitis in cows due to hyperstimulation of milk production, and also with antibiotics used to treat the mastitis. Other abnormalities include increased fatty acids, which are incriminated in heart disease.

       More serious are major risks of breast, colon, and prostate cancers due to increased IGF levels in hormonal milk. Evidence for this has been documented in about 50 scientific publications over the past three decades. Among them is the 1998 Harvard Nurses Health Study, based on a follow-up of 300 healthy nurses. Those with elevated IGF blood levels were shown to have up to a seven-fold increased risk of breast cancer.

       A less well-recognized risk is evidence that IGF blocks natural, self-destructive, defense mechanisms against early submicroscopic cancers, technically known as apoptosis.

       Acting on these lines of evidence, a 1999 European Commission Report, by internationally recognized experts, concluded that avoidance of hormonal dairy products in favor of natural organic products "would appear to be the most practical and immediate dietary intervention to . . . achieve the goal of preventing cancer." Warning of these risks were confirmed in my 2002 publication in the International Journal of Health Services, endorsed by over 50 leading independent experts in cancer prevention and public health.

       Of particular concern are risks to infants and children in view of their high susceptibility to cancer-causing products and chemicals. Nevertheless, few schools make organic milk available, nor do most state governments, under low-income food programs, particularly the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children.

       Nevertheless, the Food and Drug Administration remains indifferent to these risks, in spite of Congressional concerns. Illustrative is the 1986 report, "Human Food Safety and Regulation of Animal Drugs," by the House Committee on Government Operations. This 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, milk, and poultry."

       However, these risks are avoidable. 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 also becoming increasingly available, with an annual growth rate of about 20 percent, while overall milk consumption is dropping by about 10 percent.

       Wal-Mart is now the biggest seller of certified organic milk, followed by Horizon Organic, owned by Dean Foods, the nations 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 U.S., 24 European nations, Norway, Switzerland, New Zealand, Japan, and Canada have banned the use and imports of hormonal milk and dairy products. However, in spite of the ban, Canada imports over 20 percent of its total dairy products from the U.S., without any restrictions.

       Our government has failed to warn its citizens of the dangers of hormonal milk. The media could now play a critical role in alerting the nation to these avoidable dangers.

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       CONTACT: Samuel Epstein, M.D., epstein@uic.edu, 312-996-2297

       NOTE TO EDITORS: The above commentary is available for free and immediate use. If used, please contact Samuel Epstein.

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