In 1993, Monsanto, the chemical company, introduced rBGH, a genetically modified hormone that is injected into cows to increase milk production.

How am I exposed?

rBGH is found in milk, ice cream, buttermilk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products.

Why should I be concerned?

rBGH causes elevated levels of a powerful insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) in milk, which may increase the risk of breast, prostate, colon, lung, and other cancers. rBGH also increases udder infections in cows so dairy products from rGBH-treated cows contribute to antibiotic resistance in humans.

What can government and business do?

  • State and federal governments can pass legislation that requires dairy products from rBGH treated cows to be labeled and that encourages farmers to start phasing out the use of rBGH in farming practices.
  • Businesses should not use milk from rBGH-treated cows in their products or facilities.

How can I reduce my exposure?

  • Choose USDA certified organic dairy products.
  • Choose hormone-free dairy and meat products.
  • Try non-dairy alternatives like soy, almond, and other nut based products.
  • Look for Animal Welfare Approved, Certified Humane, Global Animal Partnership and Food Alliance Certified products that ensure the animals were raised humanely with enough space for natural behaviors and without growth hormones or antibiotics.
Additional Resources

Center for Food Safety: Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone
Food and Water Watch: Bovine Growth Hormone


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