The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry recently reported that researchers at the universities of Jaen and Cordoba in Spain and the Abdelmalek Essaadi University in Morocco have identified a multitude of drugs and chemicals in cow, goat and human breast milk. All of the samples contained traces of 20 different antibiotics, antiseptics, anti-inflammatories, beta-blockers, painkillers, growth hormones and other hormones.
These scientists invented a new method of evaluating food and drink that is more efficient in detecting these chemicals in food. The researchers say that their 30 minute test is the most sensitive test available.
While they researched milk in Spain and Morocco, it may be extrapolated that the milk of Britain, Europe and the United States is also contaminated.
Many of the drugs listed are routinely given to conventionally raised animals. They are put directly into the feed. The feed is certainly not organic so it would have pesticide residues. It makes sense that residues would also be present in a body fluid such as milk.
As discussed in previous articles, commercial animals are routinely given antibiotics to prevent illness (as they live in crowded and inhumane conditions) as well as to spur growth. Not only is this adding an unwanted element to the milk, it is also contributing to antibiotic resistant bacteria that can be fatal.
Last year Portsmouth University scientists found that fish and shellfish were being contaminated with the anti-depressant Prozac. The drug enters the waterways from the sewer system. The chemicals are broken down in the treatment facility, but apparently not completely.
The scientists observing shrimp, saw that they were drawn out into the open instead of hiding under rocks or seaweed. This makes them more vulnerable to predators and may seriously change the dynamic of the ecosystem.
Prozac alters the levels of serotonin in humans and may do the same in animals and fish. While it may help some people, it attracts the shellfish to light and this makes them at risk. Other fish may be at risk as well.
Marine zoologist, Dr. Ford of Portsmouth University said,
There is a huge range of anti-depressants on the market and maybe at very low concentrations they don’t have an effect. But once they are in one big soup they may add up to have an effect … Drugs are partially broken down in the treatment process but what we are realizing now is that a lot more gets through than we thought.
The treatment plants weren’t designed to break down medicines so some inevitably get concentrated … and they get released into streams or onto beaches.
Effluent is concentrated in river estuaries and coastal areas, which is where shrimps and other marine life live – this means that shrimps are taking on the excreted drugs of whole towns.
Other studies have shown that caffeine is released into the waterways even after sewage treatment. The hormones from the contraceptive pill and HRT have been blamed for feminising fish, leading to male fish producing eggs. The effects of antibiotics, blood pressure drugs and cholesterol-lowering drugs on wildlife are also being studied around the world.
Clearly, we are living in a toxic environment. While we cannot control everything that our food sources are exposed to, we can make choices as to what food sources we use. Choosing animals that are raised “beyond organic” on biodynamic farms is a way to insure that the animals are not given any chemicals that may show up in their meat or milk.
Another reason to consider switching to wholesome, nutritious, fresh raw milk.
Photo Credit: Striatic
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