An estimated 80 percent of all US feedlot cattle are injected with hormones to make them grow faster, and one government study from 2007 estimated that approximately 17 percent of all cows in the US were given the genetically engineered growth hormone rBGH.
According to the European Union’s Scientific Committee… the use of six natural and artificial growth hormones in beef production pose a potential risk to human health. These six hormones include three that are naturally occurring – Oestradiol, Progesterone and Testosterone – and three that are synthetic – Zeranol, Trenbolone, and Melengestrol. When hormones are injected into cattle, some naturally occurring hormone levels increase 7 to 20 times.
The Committee also questioned whether hormone residues in the meat of growth enhanced animals can disrupt human hormone balance, causing developmental problems, interfering with the reproductive system, and even leading to the development of breast, prostate and colon cancers.
Growth-promoting hormones not only remain in the meat we consume, but also pass through the cattle to be excreted in manure. Scientists are increasingly concerned about the environmental impacts of this hormone residue as it leaks from manure into the environment, contaminating soil, and surface and groundwater. FAquatic ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to hormone residues. Recent studies have demonstrated that exposure to hormones has a substantial effect on the gender and reproductive capacity of fish.
The labels “Raised Without Added Hormones“, “No Hormones Administered” or “No Synthetic Hormones” indicate that no synthetic hormones were given to animals. “RBGH-free” or “rBST-free” labels are increasingly used on milk products to indicate that synthetic hormones were not given to the dairy cattle.