Hot Dog Cancer Risks
Almost every kid loves hot dogs. This is probably due to the fact that this snack is easy and it can just be popped into the microwave after school. Also, when the parents are not at home, especially your mom, this snack is one of the easiest to prepare. Moreover, a lot of kids find this snack delicious.
Also, when families go to picnic, it is customary for the fathers to fire up the grill, especially on holidays like the 4th of July. This holiday is probably the biggest hot dog holiday of the year, as it has been estimated that the Americans down about 155 million wieners.
Yes, Americans consume hot dogs throughout the entire year, but between Memorial Day and Labor Day, it has been estimated that they eat about seven billion hot dogs.
Yes, so what’s the big deal?
An article in L.A.Times has announced that kids who eat over 12 hot dogs a month have nine times increased risk of developing childhood leukemia. This was confirmed by a USC epidemiologist in a cancer research journal.
The same issue of Cancer Causes and Control has published two other reports which advise that kids born to mothers who consume at least one hot dog a week during pregnancy have double the normal risk of developing brain tumors, as do kids whose fathers consumed hot dogs prior to conception.
We all know about the health benefits of smoothies, right? Still, are you familiar with the ‘red’ smoothie? Well, go on reading to find out something more.
It seems like we all need to be a little worried.
What’s wrong with hot dogs?
The worst thing about hotdogs is that they contain nitrite additives that form carcinogens.
Petition to ban nitrites. During the previous year, three different studies have come out and revealed that the consumption of hot dogs can be a risk factor for childhood cancer.
In a research, Peters et al. studied the link between the consumption of certain foods and the risk of leukemia in kids from birth to age 10 in Los Angeles County between 1980 and 1987. The research revealed that kids that consume more than 12 hot dogs on a monthly basis have nine times increased risk of developing childhood leukemia.
Moreover, kids whose fathers’ consumption of hot dogs was 12 or more on a monthly basis face strong risk for childhood leukemia.
In Denver, the cases of childhood cancer were studied by Sarusua and Savitz, and these researchers discovered that kids born to mothers who ate hot dogs one or more times per week during pregnancy had about double the risk of developing brain tumors. Also, kids who consumed hot dogs once or more on a weekly basis had increased risk of brain cancer.
In a research, Bunin et al. have discovered that maternal consumption of hot dogs during pregnancy was linked to an excess risk of childhood brain tumors.
How could hot dogs cause cancer?
It is known that hot dogs contain nitrites, substances used as preservatives, mainly to fight botulism. During the processing, nitrites combine with amines which are naturally found in meat and form carcinogenic N-nitroso compounds.
It is believed that the nitrites also combine with amines in the human stomach and thus form N-nitroso compounds there as well. The N-nitroso compounds are known carcinogens which have been related to oral cavity cancer, esophagus cancer, stomach cancer, brain cancer, and urinary bladder cancer.
Some vegetables contain nitrites, do they cause cancer too?
It is a fact that numerous green vegetables, especially celery, spinach and green lettuce contain nitrites. Nevertheless, the intake of these vegetables is effective when it comes to reducing the risk of cancer.
You probably wonder how this is possible. Well, the answer lies in the process of formation of N-nitroso compounds from nitrites and amines which only takes place when one consumes meat. The thing is, the vegetable that contain nitrite also contain vitamins C and D, vitamins that serve to hinder the formation of N-nitroso compounds.
As a result, vegetables are pretty safe and healthy and actually serve to reduce the risk of developing cancer.
Do other food products contain nitrites?
All processed meats contain nitrites, including bacon and fish.
Are all hot dogs a risk for childhood cancer?
The good news is that not all hot dogs present on the market contain nitrites. Due to the modern refrigeration methods, nitrites are used primarily for the red color they give to a meat, not only for preservation.
The red color of the meat is linked to its freshness, so the use of nitrites is pretty clear. Hot dogs that do not contain nitrites have the same taste as the hot dogs that do contain these substances.
The nitrites-free hot dogs have a brownish color that has restricted their popularity among the consumers. The nitrite-free hot dogs are perfectly safe and healthy even when they are cooked.
HERE ARE FOUR THINGS THAT YOU CAN DO:
1. Avoid buying hot dogs that contain nitrites. This goes particularly for children and potential parents, who need to remember not to consume 12 or more of these hot dogs on a monthly basis.
2. Ask the suppliers in your supermarket to have nitrite-free hot dogs available.
3. Visit the local school and ask the board if the children there are being served nitrite hot dogs in the cafeteria. Make a request to them to use only nitrite free hot dogs.
4. Contact the FDA and let them know that you are worried about the fact that nitrite hot dogs are not labeled for their cancer risk to kids. You can also mention the CPC’s petition on hot dogs, docket #: 95P 0112/CP1.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Cancer Prevention Coalition
c/o School of Public Health, M/C 922
University of Illinois at Chicago
2121 West Taylor Street
Chicago, IL 60612
Tel: (312) 996-2297, Fax: (312) 413-9898
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