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Health hazard haze on cows & milk

Los Angeles, Aug. 16: Dairy cows have overtaken automobiles as the No. 1 air polluter in parts of California, according to a Los Angeles Times article. A New York Times editorial discussed “the eye-stinging, nose-burning smell of cattle congestion in rural California”, acknowledging that something had to be done.

What nobody wants to say, in this land of milk and cookies, is that we shouldn’t be drinking cow’s milk.

In the last edition of his Baby and Child Care bible, Dr Benjamin Spock made it clear that cow’s milk is for baby cows, not for human children. He wrote that it was “too rich in the saturated fats that cause artery blockages” and that it “slows down iron absorption”. He suggested that it may cause ear and/or respiratory problems and may be linked to childhood onset of diabetes.

Infants should drink only human breast milk and older children should try soy and rice milk products, he stressed.

But the dairy industry, which spends millions of dollars telling us that milk consumption will help us lose weight, would rather we didn’t see a study published in the June issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. The study found that children who drink more than three servings of milk daily are prone to becoming overweight, even if it is low-fat milk.

The dairy industry prefers to scare us with tales of brittle bones, hoping we don’t notice studies showing that people in Asia, who consume almost no dairy products, have a significantly lower rate of hip fractures than people in America.

Consistent with those results is Harvard University’s 1997 Nurses Health Study, which followed 78,000 women over 12 years and found that those who consumed the most dairy foods broke the most bones.

And a study published this month in the International Journal of Cancer found a 13 per cent increase in ovarian cancer risk in women who increased their lactose intake in amounts equivalent to one glass of milk per day.

Men don’t need milk either. A Harvard study published in 1998 linked high calcium consumption to prostate cancer, and, last week, we learned that Dean Ornish’s low-fat, vegan diet (no dairy) may block the progression of that disease.

Now, we learn that the dairy industry may also be polluting the air. The Times article quoted an attorney for the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment, who said that in Fresno, in the centre of the nation’s dairy industry, one in six children carries an inhaler to school.

Instead of protecting us, the government aligns itself with the dairy lobby. The California Milk Advisory Board, a government agency, shows extended bovine families grazing in meadows in its “happy cows” campaign.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sued the board for false advertising, arguing that most California dairy cows live miserable lives on overcrowded dirt lots.

Peta’s suit failed ' on the grounds that government bodies are exempt from fair advertising laws.

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