MONSANTO’S HORMONAL MILK POSES RISKS OF PROSTATE CANCER, BESIDES OTHER CANCERS
by Samuel S. Epstein, MD
As reported in a January 23, 1998 article in Science, men with high blood levels of the naturally occurring hormone insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) are over four times more likely to develop full-blown prostate cancer than are men with lower levels. The report emphasized that high IGF-1 blood levels are the strongest known risk factor for prostate cancer, even exceeding that of a family history, and that reducing IGF-1 levels is likely to prevent this cancer. It was further noted that IGF-1 markedly stimulates the division and proliferation of normal and cancerous prostate cells and that it blocks the programmed self-destruction of cancer cells thus enhancing the growth and invasiveness of latent prostate cancer. These findings are highly relevant to any efforts to prevent prostate cancer, whose rates have escalated by 180% since 1950, and which is now the commonest cancer in non-smoking men with an estimated 185,000 new cases and 38,000 deaths in 1998.
While warning that increasing IGH-1 blood levels by treating the elderly with growth hormone (GH) to slow aging may increase risks of prostate cancer, the 1998 report appears unaware of the fact that the entire U.S. population is now exposed to high levels of IGF-1 in dairy products. In February 1995, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the sale of unlabeled milk from cows injected with Monsanto’s genetically engineered bovine growth hormone rBGH, to increase milk production. As detailed in a January 1996 report in the International Journal of Health Services, rBGH milk differs from natural milk chemically, nutritionally, pharmacologically, and immunologically, besides being contaminated with pus and antibiotics resulting from mastitis induced by the biotech hormone. Most critically, rBGH milk is supercharged with high levels of abnormally potent IGF-1, up to 10 times the levels in natural milk and over 10 times more potent. IGF-1 resists pasteurization and digestion by stomach enzymes and is well absorbed across the intestinal wall. Still unpublished Monsanto tests, disclosed by FDA in summary form in 1990, showed that statistically significant growth stimulating effects were induced in organs of adult rats by feeding IGF-1 at the lowest dose levels for two weeks. Drinking rBGH milk would thus be expected to increase blood IGF-1 levels and to increase risks of developing prostate cancer and promoting its invasiveness. Apart from prostate cancer, multiple lines of evidence have also incriminated the role of IGF-1 as risk factors for breast, colon, and childhood cancers.
Faced with escalating rates of prostate and other avoidable cancers, FDA should withdraw its approval of rBGH milk, whose sale benefits only Monsanto while posing major public health risks for the entire U.S. population. Failing early FDA action, consumers should demand explicit labeling and only buy rBGH-free milk.
Article from NOHA NEWS, Vol. XXIII, No. 3, Summer 1998, pages 4-5.