We've been hearing for years that all of the hormones given to cows and passed on to little girls through milk is leading to earlier puberty among girls. But now this disturbing story out of China: babies -- yes, babies -- are growing breasts.
According to a story in China Daily, there are 4-to-15-month-old babies who are growing breasts. Tests on those babies found that they have estrogen levels as high as adult women.
Evidence points a particular brand of infant formula. Synutra, the company that makes the formula, said, “no man-made hormones or any illegal substances were added during the production of the milk powder.”
A Chinese dairy association believes the company, admitting the hormones probably came from milk because farmers regularly feed them to their cows.
“Since a regulation forbidding the use of hormones to cultivate livestock has yet to be drawn up in China,” says Wang Dingmian, the former chairman of the dairy association in the southern province of Guangdo, “it would be lying to say nobody uses it.”
This is not the first story about extremely early breast growth and puberty arising from the use of bovine growth hormones. John Robbins, author of Diet for a New America, wrote on The Huffington Post:
In the 1980s, doctors in Puerto Rico began encountering cases of precocious puberty. There were four-year-old girls with fully developed breasts. There were three-year old girls with pubic hair and vaginal bleeding. There were one-year-old girls who had not yet begun to walk but whose breasts were growing.
Writing a few years later in the Journal of the Puerto Rico Medical Association, Dr. Carmen A. Saenz explained the cause. “It was clearly observed in 97 percent of the cases that the appearance of abnormal breast tissue was…related to local whole milk in the infants.”
The problem was traced, and found to stem from the misuse of hormones in dairy cows. When Dr. Saenz was asked how she could be certain the babies and children were contaminated with hormones from milk rather than from some other source, she replied simply: “When we take our young patients off… fresh milk, their symptoms usually regress.”
And it wasn’t just the females. Young boys were also affected. Many had to have surgery to deal with breasts that had become grossly swollen.
China and the United States are among the few countries in the world that still allow bovine growth hormones to be injected into dairy cows. They are banned in Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and most of Europe.