Lifestyle & Belief

American milk causes women to grow mustaches, Russian health official says


A woman pushes a pram carrying a carton of Japanese milk powder outside a store in the Kowloon district of Hong Kong on March 16, 2011. Hong Kong residents have been bulk buying the preferred Japanese milk powder amid concerns that dangerous radiation seeping from stricken Japanese nuclear power plants could affect or contaminate further imports. Meanwhile Hong Kong has widened its top-level black travel alert to three more Japanese prefectures after explosions at a nuclear plant.


Ed Jones

Nikolai Vlasov, Russia's deputy head of the Federal Veterinary and Phytosanitary Inspection Service, warned women that they will grow mustaches if they drink certain types of milk from America,  The Moscow Times reported. Not the cute mustaches made of milk, but the actual mustaches made of hair.

"In the United States, dairy cows are treated with somatotropic hormone. As a result, the yield increases by 20 percent. And it makes women develop male sexual characteristics — mustaches," he said  in an interview with Rossiiskaya Gazeta.

Is he making this up? Not all of it. While it hasn't been proven that American milk causes mustaches, it is true that some dairy cows in the US are treated with synthetic hormones.

Biotech company Genentech engineered a synthetic somatotropin hormone back in the 70s and later licensed it to Monsanto,  as the New York Times reported in the 90s

More from GlobalPost: The Futurists: Milk from Clothing

The US FDA approved the genetically engineered hormone, also known as rBGH or rBST, for use in dairy farming in 1993. (Monsanto marketed it under the name Posilac). While some officials claimed that Posilac is perfectly safe, other health groups were furious with the FDA for allowing rBGH to enter the dairy supply.  

Advocacy group  Physicians for Social Responsibility writes on its website that rBGH can harm cows--and indirectly harm the humans who then consume the milk. According to the advocacy group, a number of studies have linked rBGH to a potential increase in breast, prostate, and colon cancer in humans. 

But Vlasov seems to be overstating how common the milk is in the US. In fact, Posilac got such a massive consumer backlash that major food chains across the country announced that they would refuse to use milk from cows treated with Posilac. In 2008, Monsanto sold its controversial product to Eli Lilly for $300 million,  the New York Times reported

Some states even tried to ban milk companies that didn't use the hormone from bragging about being "rBGH-free" on their cartons, but in 2010 a federal court ruled that such a ban is unconstitutional,  NPR reported.

But if you do stick to only "rBGH-free" milk and find yourself still growing a mustache for whatever reason, here's the good news: hair can be removed cheaply and easily.