More than a decade ago, an enterprising chemical company discovered a way to trick a cow’s body into producing more milk – up to 20% more! Seeing green, the company quickly got the new synthetic hormone, called rBGH, approved by regulators and started aggressively marketing it to dairy farmers. Today, even though almost all the commercial milk supply of the United States contains trace amounts of rBGH, no one knows for certain what the long term effects of exposure to rBGH are for humans, especially children.
What we do know is that the use of rBGH stimulates the production of another hormone called insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), a naturally occurring hormone in both cows and humans that regulates cell activities. Cow’s milk that is treated with rBGH has higher levels of IGF-1. Studies in both humans and animals have indicated that elevated levels of IGF-1 in humans may increase the risk of certain cancers. The use of rBGH also increases infections in cows, which then need to be treated with antibiotics, which can then lead to increased antibiotic resistance in humans.
To make matters worse, the government doesn’t require dairies to label milk produced with the hormone. Our recommendation: buy only organic, rBGH-free milk for your kids, or try organic nut milks that are naturally hormone free.