Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH), also known as recombinant Bovine Somatotropin, (rBST) is a genetically-engineered growth hormone that is injected into cows on ten to fifteen percent of the U.S. dairy farms to increase their milk production. Use of rBGH increases disease rates in cows and creates the potential for human health risks. Nurses have an opportunity to help eliminate this practice by encouraging their hospitals (and nursing homes and schools) to purchase dairy products from companies that do not use rBGH.
The American Nurses Association adopted a resolution in June 2008 calling for healthier food in health care, including the elimination of rBGH in dairy production.The ANA has also adopted the Precautionary Principle to guide nursing practice and advocacy efforts with regard to environmental health. This guiding principle calls for nurses to act on early and credible scientific warnings rather than delay action until more scientific evidence is developed. There are growing concerns that the use of rBGH poses unnecessary risks to human health.
We are calling upon the nursing profession to help eliminate the use or rBGH in the US by appealing to those who make purchasing decisions within the institutions where we work to purchase dairy products that have been produced without the use of rBGH. To this end, this virtual toolkit has been created by nurses for nurses with fact sheets, sample letters, postcards, videos and other tools for you to use to educate yourselves, your fellow nurses, your patients and your health care institutions, in particular the food service directors and hospital administrators who establish the food purchasing policies for your hospital or health care facility.
- Flyer: Why Nurses are Concerned about Artificial Hormones in Dairy Products (pdf)
This one page double-sided flyer is great to hand out at meetings, health fairs, and other events where nurse colleagues, hospital staff and/or the public gather. Download and make copies.
- Factsheet: HCWH's Position Statement on rBGH (pdf)
This double-sided factsheet provides the scientific rationale and position on why HCWH is calling on healthcare professionals and hospital systems to stop using dairy produced with rBGH.
- Brochure: Know Your Milk (pdf)
This eight-page referenced brochure on rBGH produced by Oregon Physician's for Social Responsibility is a great in-depth discussion of the various health issues associated with rBGH.
- Know Your Milk: Does It Have Artificial Hormones?
Watch and forward this video by Dr. Jenny Pompilio of Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility who discusses the harmful effects of recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST) and what consumers can do to protect themselves. Show the video in your facility or have it available at health fairs.
- Human and Animal Health — Part 1
Nurses working with Health Care Without Harm's rBGH Food Work Group created three short videos to help nurses understand how the use of rBGH, a synthetic hormone found in dairy products, impacts human health. Nurses play an important role to protect and prevent harm to patients, health care workers and visitors. Also, the videos will help guide nurses to advocate for healthier food choices in their health care facilities. In Part 1, learn about the health problems associated to recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) or rBST and how to apply the Precautionary Principle and the ANA's Precautionary Approach to protect health. This clip also discusses countries where rBGH is banned.
- rBGH and Nursing — Part 2
This second clip in the three-part series discusses what nurses can do about synthetic hormones in dairy products. Learn about the American Nurses Association's resolution, American Medical Association's position, what you can do today, and how to engage others to promote the use of rBGH-free dairy products in your personal and professional life.
- rBGH Nurse Toolkit — Part 3
This third clip in the three-part series will provide nurses with tools to advocate for patients, employees and visitors to have healthier food in health care facilities. Health Care Without Harm, an international coalition is transforming the health care sector to prevent harm to patients, public health and the environment.
- Center for Food Safety
- Consumers Union
- Family Farm Defenders
- Food and Water Watch
- Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility