Young Girl with Serious Health Problems from Drinking Milk From Wal-Mart-Unproven!

Summary of eRumor:

The story of an 11-year-old girl who has had menstrual bleeding since she was 8 and has also started lactating.   The eRumor says it is because she’s been drinking milk injected with rBST, a hormone given to cows to increase their milk production.  The eRumor focuses on Wal-Mart Great Value milk as a source of the rBST and recommends against feeding it to your family.
 

The Truth:

There is controversy over rBST, which stands for recombinant bovine somatotropin.  It is an artificial growth hormone used in cows.

We’ve not found the family of Marissa, the 11-year old girl referenced in the eRumor.  If she is real her family’s suspicions are worthy of consideration but do not constitute proof that what they describe has been caused by ingesting milk from Wal-Mart.  There are other conditions that can cause early menstruation such as hypothyroidism.  Also, although there are fears, there is not scientific agreement about whether rBST is harmful to humans.

RBST is a synthetic version of bST or BGH, a natural growth hormone in cows which, among other things, affects the amount of milk produced by a dairy cow.  Use of bST to increase milk production has been around since the 1930’s then along then the synthetic version came into popularity. 

Critics of the use of rBST say that it is banned for use in cattle in virtually every major country in the world except the United States.  They point out that there is an increase in health problems in cattle that produce the most milk so the use of rBST should be avoided on that ground.

Supporters say rBST helps dairy farmers with better milk yield and that there has not been any proof that the hormone causes problems in humans.  It is approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Although this eRumor focused on Wal-Mart milk there are several different milk companies that use cattle treated with rBST and Wal-Mart also sells milk from cows that are not injected with it.  Because of the controversy over rBST a lot of the milk products without it are labeled as such and are not hard to find.

In March, 2008, Wal-Mart announced that rBST will no longer be found in milk from either Wal-Mart or Sams Club.

Updated 3/25/08

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

 


Subject: Fw: WALMART MILK

Health Warning – rBST in Great Value [Wal-Mart] Milk

Please read this and pass along to as many people….Mitzi Lyons, her husband is Kyle, live here in Gainesville , TX . Their 11 yr old daughter, Marissa, for THREE years (since she was 8) has incurred menstrual problems (bleeding several more days than a regular menstrual cycle each month) and within the last year she started producing milk. Her doctors have performed every test, many surgeries, put her on birth control and the last straw was a hysterectomy in January. Mitzi’s dad started research on the internet of his granddaughter’s problem and found out about rBST in milk (injecting cows with steroidal hormones so they will produce more milk). Doctor’s were skeptical if this could be “why” this little girl was experiencing these problems as it was approved by the FDA. Wal-Mart Great Value milk is the kind that the Lyon ‘s family has always drank. Borden milk and many other brands does not have rBST in it. Her doctor’s in Houston are going to write a medical journal discovery on her, because FDA says that rBST is safe for humans. Her doctor’s have also discovered that there a handful more girls around her age out there, in other states, that are experiencing the same issues and have reason to believe it is also from the rBST injections in some cows. So far, there aren’t any cases in boys. One girl in Michigan was at the point to go through a hysterectomy as well; but they decided to completely take her off Great Value milk (after discovering the rBST) for three months to see if there would be any changes; she quit bleeding and lactating.

Mitzi asked me to please share this with everyone I could think of to hopefully save someone the pain and suffering that Marissa has endured. We’re hoping soon this will be in the news around the nation and that Wal-mart will take the rBST out of their milk.

I have pulled my family from Wal-Mart Great Value Milk and bought Borden and Borden has a label on their milk that says rBST not used on their cows. We’re doing everything we can to alert people of what’s been going on and to be sure to read milk labels before you buy it no matter what brand it is, as we are unsure at this time if Wal-mart is the only company doing this or if there may be more. Children in today’s society already experience puberty at a younger age than we did as adolescence.

Please pass this on……just in case!