Vancouver Island, Canada
"When a cow is injected with BGH, its milk production is stimulated, but not
directly. The presence of BGH in the cow's blood stimulates production of
another hormone, Insulin-Like Growth Factor - 1, or IGF-1. It is IGF-1 that
stimulates milk production. IGF-1 is a naturally occurring hormone-protein
in both cows and humans.
Some scientists maintain that the use of BGH increases the levels of IGF-1
in cow's milk. IGF-1 is not destroyed by milk pasteurization. Because IGF-1
is active in humans, causing cells to divide, any increased levels of IGF-1
in milk raises the question: will this result in cell division leading to
the growth of cancerous tumors?
Monsanto's position that IGF-1 levels are not elevated contradicts the
companyís own studies. In a published letter, the British researcher T. B.
Mepham reminded Monsanto that in its 1993 application to the British
government for permission to sell BGH, Monsanto itself reported that "the
IGF-1 level went up substantially [about five times as much]." The FDA
acknowledges that IGF-1 is elevated in milk from BGH-treated cows. Other
proponents of BGH acknowledge that it at least doubles the amount of IGF-1
hormone in the milk. The earliest report in this literature found that
IGF-1 was elevated in the milk of BGH-treated cows by a factor of 3.6.
More recent studies have demonstrated that IGF-1, in the presence of the
milk protein, casein, largely survives digestion in the stomach and passes
into the intestine for absorption into the bloodstream. In January,
1998, a Harvard study of 15,000 white men that was published in SCIENCE
magazine reported that those with elevated, but still normal, levels of
IGF-1 in their blood are 4 times as likely as average men to get prostate
cancer. Furthermore, "there are highly suggestive if not persuasive
lines of evidence showing that consumption of this milk increases risks of
breast and colon cancer," says Dr. Samuel Epstein, a scientist from the
University of Illinois.
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