Tag Archive for 'Monsanto'

Weekly Highlights (8/29/2011)

Welcome to “Weekly Highlights”, our weekly post that recaps important child health and safety news, research, and recalls from the previous week but also give us an avenue to share some of the other great reads we’ve come across in our internet travels.

In the News:

Washington State to Require Chemical Reporting for Toys! - A new law took effect this week in Washington which will now require manufacturers of toys, cosmetics, jewelry, and baby products to report when their products contain certain harmful chemicals – from a list of 66 chemicals identified as unsafe. Let’s hope this will spur action in other states, or better yet at the federal level.

Is Gender Selection of a Fetus Ethical? – A new maternal blood test can determine a fetus’ sex as early as seven weeks into pregnancy. The test is not yet available but has sparked a heated ethical debate. Would parents use this to perform sex-selective abortions??

On Food Safety, a Long List but Little Money – The FDA is facing an uphill battle to implement the food safety law passed last year on limited funding. While I have my issues with the FDA, I do think we need to find a way to allocate resources so they can fulfill the responsibilities they’ve been given to keep our food safe.

Food Safety in China, and the Risk to the U.S. - Another food safety crisis in China (reported by the AP here). In the second vinegar scandal this month, vinegar contaminated with antifreeze has killed 11 and sickened 120 in China. This article highlights the continuous spate of scandals in China and the risk they pose to us as imports from China are increasing in the U.S. and the FDA is struggling to keep up. What are we to do? Buy fresh, buy local as much as we can.

The Color of Controversy - A pretty good summation of the history of food dyes, related health studies, and controversies.

Patience, Mom: More Hospitals Say No to Scheduled Delivery Before 39 Weeks – A number of hospitals are now prohibiting scheduled C-sections and inductions before 39 weeks of pregnancy unless medically necessary in light of recent research showing that babies experience a lot of critical development during their final weeks in utero, and mortality rates are cut in half by waiting until 39 weeks versus 37.

New Research:

Global Rates of Obesity Doubled in 30 Years
Three new studies published recently in The Lancet, a British medical journal, say that rates of obesity have doubled worldwide, even as blood pressure and cholesterol levels have dropped. People in the Pacific Islands are the heaviest, but among developed countries Americans are the fattest.

New Report Finds Few Adverse Events Linked to Immunizations
A panel of scientists assembled by the Institute of Medicine says there are relatively few health problems caused by most commonly recommended vaccines. The IOM included experts in pediatrics, immunology, neurology, epidemiology, and statistics. The review of more than 1,000 peer-reviewed studies represents the most comprehensive review of the available literature on the potential side effects for eight vaccines – MMR, chicken pox, influenz, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, HPV, DTAP, and meningococcus. The article describes some of the conclusions drawn by the panel.

Could the Way We Mate and Marry Boost Rates of Autism?
An interesting theory as to why autism rates are on the rise – people with certain traits are increasingly meeting and marrying and having children more likely to be on the spectrum. Cited reasoning: The recent surge in autism rates has coincided with certain social changes, such as an unprecedented movement of women into math and science professions and the dotcom boom making more technically-minded people more sought after as mates. The theory is still largely speculation, but interesting nonetheless.

What Makes Some Preschools Better than Others?
A Vanderbilt University professor suggests that preschool teachers who engage children and use rich and varied vocabulary influence the children’s vocabulary and reading abilities later on.

Kids with Nut Allergies Feel Teased, Excluded
A study in the UK in which 26 families dealing with nut allergies were interviewed found that they routinely encountered skepticism and hostility over their children’s allergies.

Good Reads:

8 Month Old Gets a Cochlear Implant from YouTube - Heartwarming, tear-inspiring video of a child hearing his mother’s voice after a cochlear implant.

When Kids Bring Up Same-Sex Marriage from CNN Living - Several parents share their thoughts on how they address questions about same-sex marriage with their children.

Monsanto’s 5 Most Dubious Contributions to the Planet from TakePart.com – Before bovine growth hormone and GM seeds, there was Agent Orange and styrofoam.

Recalls, August 23 – August 29:

CPSC Child Product Recalls

Child Safety Seat Recalls
No child safety seat recall announcements this week.

USDA/FDA Recalls

We’d love your feedback! If there is anything you’d like us to add or change, we’d love to hear it! If there’s anything you see and think we should feature, please send it our way to purebebeblog@gmail.com. We hope your week is off to a great start!


Jasmine & Heather

The True ‘Cost’ of a Gallon of Milk

By publicenergy, Flickr

Let’s face it. It’s expensive to eat these days. And a gallon of milk? Forget about it. If you make minimum wage then one hour of your time will allow you to buy one gallon of organic milk for your babies.

And that’s just the actual cost, in dollars, of a gallon of milk.

What most people don’t realize is that when you buy a “regular” gallon of milk (non-organic), they’re getting a carton full of milk with hormones, antibiotics, and cow utter pus (yes, you read that correctly).

We first introduced you to Robyn O’Brien’s book, “The Unhealthy Truth”, in our post titled “Is Our Food Making Us Sick? The “Unhealthy Truth” About the U.S. Food Industry”. I recently read the Chapter called “Milk Money” and wanted to recap Robyn’s research.

Monsanto, a large agrichemical company, pioneered aspartame, genetically modified soy, DDT, and a hormone called rBST/rBGH (trademarked under the name of ‘Posilac’). You may recognize the artificial hormone name rBST/rBGH. In fact, if you do you’ve probably gone through great lengths to try to find dairy products that don’t contain the hormone.

But what is the rBST/rBGH hormone?
The hormone is made in a lab and, as Robyn explains, is “designed to mimic a hormone that’s naturally produced in a cow’s pituitary glands. It’s injected into cows every two weeks to boost their hormonal activity, causing them to produce an additional 10 to 15 percent more milk, or about one extra gallon each day.”

Courtesy of AndersP, Flickr

Sounds good, right? Why NOT give the cow an artificial hormone to produce more milk?

Well, apparently the hormone has some adverse effects on cows, including “increases in cystic ovaries and disorders of the uterus,” “decreases in gestation length and birth-weight of calves,” and “increased risk of clinical mastitis.” Mastitis in cows is extremely painful (as in human mastitis) and causes cows’ utters to pump out bacteria and pus along with milk. In order to treat the mastitis, dairy farmers have to give the cows antibiotics and other medicines, that, you guessed it – end up in our milk supply. On top of that, the hormone causes “increased numbers of lacerations on the cows’ hocks (shins), and digestive disorders, including diarrhea. And, a cows’ life expectancy is only two years after they start receiving the drug (versus cows not on the hormone “live four to ten years”).

Robyn’s words captured my own thoughts and actions:

“When I first read this, I had to stop and walk away from the computer for a few minutes. How many bottles and sippy cups had I filled with milk? Why hadn’t I known about rBGH when I was pouring countless bowls of cereal for my children? I shuddered at the thought that along with the milk, I had also been giving them doses of growth hormone and antibiotics, not to mention potentially exposing them to cow bacteria and udder pus.”

I’m no medical expert or scientist, but this got me thinking – maybe there’s a connection between our country’s dairy products and the fact that girls are developing earlier than ever these days? And what about our life expectancy? Could this hormone decrease our life expectancy?

Robyn goes on to discuss rBGH’s effects on our (human) health:

“As early as 1998, an article in The Lancet, the prestigious British medical journal, reported that women with even relatively small increases of a hormone known as insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-1) were up to seven times more likely to develop premenopausal breast cancer.

And guess what? According to a January 1996 report in the International Journal of Health Services, rBGH milk has up to ten times the IGF-1 levels of natural milk. More recent studies have put the figure even higher, at something like twentyfold.

Now stop and think about that for a minute. Breast cancer used to be something that women got later in life. Premenopausal breast cancer was so rare that when young women presented their physicians with breast cancer symptoms, the doctors often failed to diagnose it, simply because it was so unlikely that an ‘older women’s disease’ would be found among young women.

But according to the Young Survival Coalition, one in 229 women between the ages of thirty and thirty-nine will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the next ten years. Why are all these young women now getting breast cancer? And what about the effects of IGF-1-laden milk on older women, who are already at greater risk for breast cancer?

In case you think that the rising cancer rates have something to do with genetics, stop and think again. According to the Breast Cancer Fund, one in eight women now has breast cancer. But only 10 percent of those cases can be linked to genetics. In other words, 90 percent of breast cancers being diagnosed today are being triggered by factors in the environment. Doesn’t it seem logical that there might be a connection between a breast cancer-causing hormone introduced into our milk in 1994 and the increasing rates of breast cancer?

IGF-1 has also been implicated in prostate and colon cancer. An article in the Washington Independent quotes Kaiser Permanente internist Dr. Jenny Pompilio as saying that even ‘subtle amounts’ of IGF-1 can increase the risk of cancer.”

Many other countries have banned this genetically altered hormone, so why hasn’t the United States? According to Robyn, Canada, the European Union, Japan, Australia and New Zealand have banned the use of this hormone.

Lastly, the chapter describes the political and corporate implications of ‘tainted milk.’ If this information gets your juices flowing and upsets you, please leave us a Comment. If I get enough Comments, I’ll write a follow-up article on the political and corporate puppet strings that are being maneuvered behind the scenes in order to keep the money and this artificial hormone flowing in our minimum-wage-costing gallon of milk.


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Related Articles:
Are You What You Eat?
Is Our Food Making Us Sick? The “Unhealthy Truth” About the U.S. Food Industry
‘Secret FDA Memos’ Reveal Concerns About GMO Foods
Creating a Healthy Relationship with Food: Interview with Dr. Lisa Hill
Lead Found in Several Brands of Baby and Children’s Food

‘Secret FDA Memos’ Reveal Concerns About GMO Foods

In our recent post “Should The FDA Require Companies To Label Genetically Modified Foods?” we discussed the AquAdvantage salmon debate. As a follow-up to that article, check out the video below, “Secret FDA Memos Reveal Concerns About Genetically Modified Organisms/Foods (GMOs).”

If you’re curious and would like to read the memos yourself, click here.

Also, did you happen to catch Shelly’s mention of Michael R. Taylor? In January 2010, he was named “deputy commissioner for foods” at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). He became the first individual to hold this position, which was created in August 2009 along with a new ‘Office of Foods.’

According to the FDA’s website, “Mr. Taylor is leading FDA efforts to develop and carry out a prevention-based strategy for food safety plan for new food safety legislation ensure that food labels contain clear and accurate information on nutrition

‘I am fully committed to working with my FDA colleagues to make the changes necessary to ensure the safety of America’s food supply from farm to table,’ said Mr. Taylor.”

Coincidentally, Mr. Taylor was a former attorney representing Monsanto (the agricultural biotechnology company that happens to be the lead producer of Genetically Engineered (GE) Seeds and responsible for the creation, production and widespread use of the controversial rBGH hormone injected into cows). As we stated in our recent post “Should The FDA Require Companies To Label Genetically Modified Foods?”, today the FDA does not require companies to label “Genetically Engineered” food and, in fact, is making it difficult for food companies to label conventional food “not genetically engineered.”

Below are additional articles on Mr. Michael Taylor:
“You’re Appointing Who? Please Obama, Say It’s Not So!” – Huffington Post
New FDA deputy to lead food-safety mandate – The Washington Post

TAKE ACTION NOW (thanks to the Non-GMO Project):
The FDA is currently considering approval of a genetically modified salmon, the first GE animal intended for human consumption. With a public hearing scheduled for this week, now is a critical time to voice your concerns. If you’d like to voice your concerns, consumers can click here to sign the Center for Food Safety’s petition to the FDA. This petition opposes the approval of Genetically Modified Salmon.

Please leave us a comment and let us know your thoughts.

If you enjoy reading PureBebe, please tell your friends and click on “Sign me up!” under “Email Subscription” on the right rail of the screen. By subscribing to our emails, you are telling us that you digg our site and want to read more of our healthy baby news and topics!


Related Articles:
Are You What You Eat?
Is Our Food Making Us Sick? The “Unhealthy Truth” About the U.S. Food Industry
Creating a Healthy Relationship with Food: Interview with Dr. Lisa Hill
Lead Found in Several Brands of Baby and Children’s Food

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