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Milk processing begins when cows are fed antibiotics to treat illnesses including mastitis (infection of the udder). This practice leads to antibiotic residues in cow's milk, which is compounded by the fact that after milking, the product is shipped to a central collection facility where residues effectively contaminate the entire supply. This is of concern to Health Canada because constant low-level exposure to antibiotics leads to allergies in individuals and the development of antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains.
Synthetic steroids, used to boost milk production in the United States, are not currently authorized for use in Canada. Concerns regarding their safety, including indications that they may increase the incidence of some cancers, have so far prevented licensing here.
The milk from these cows is enriched in progesterone, a hormone that can stimulate the production of androgens in humans (i.e., disrupt human hormone balance). This may contribute to several medical conditions, including acne.
It seems that industry pressured Health Canada and the only people who were allowed to do the review of BGH were the upper level management. The fellow, Monseignon, the chief of the Human Safety Division approved it, going against the advice of his own scientists, even though the scientists said it wasn't safe for humans because the safety tests weren't done to prove it which is a very scary thing - that he could veto his own scientists. That happened around 1990
Health Canada based their approval solely on an abstract of a study published in Science magazine by two American scientists who worked for Monsanto. This was the 90-day study of 30 rats. During the whole time period, from 1994 to 1998, the scientists at Health Canada couldn't even get a look at it because the complete study was kept locked up and kept secret. By law, the scientists in Health Canada are supposed to study the research before the drug is approved.
Finally, at the beginning of 1999, Health Canada decided that it couldn't push BGH through.