Research Journal Reports: Hot Dogs Linked to Leukemia, Brain Tumors
On June 4th, an article appeared in the research journal Cancer Causes and Control. The journal article, and two other recently-completed studies, including one by Sara Sarasua and David A Savitz of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, stated that
- children who eat more than 12 hot dogs a month develop childhood leukemia more than nine times as often as normally expected.
- children born to mothers who eat at least one hot dog a week during pregnancy have double the normal risk of developing brain tumors as do children whose fathers ate hot dogs before conception.
- children who ate hot dogs once a week doubled their chances of brain tumors; twice a week, they tripled it.
- the children of men who ate franks often had an 11 times greater risk of leukemia than normal.
- kids who ate the most ham, bacon and sausage had a tripled risk of lymphoma.
The article went on to say that `researchers led by University of Southern California epidemiologist John Peters, believe the findings may explain a two-decades rise in reported childhood leukemias and brain tumors. They suggest the trigger for the cancers could be nitrites used to preserve processed meats.'
There have long been reports linking nitrites to nitrosamines when ingested and combined in the digestive system. These nitrosamines have also been described as carcinogens.
When I saw the article, I went to my neighborhood supermarket to look at the ingredients in hot dogs. Various brands are almost identical in their ingredients: Pork, beef, water, salt, corn syrup, mustard, dextrose, spices, onion, garlic, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite, and spices extractives [sic]. I do not know what this may refer to. But I was rather shocked to find, when checking packages of bologna and salami that their ingredients were identical to those found in hot dogs! In other words, eating hot dogs, plus spiced lunch meats will increase the toxic load in children.
A newspaper report on the journal article notes, "Such studies are hard to conduct and interpret because it is difficult for subjects to accurately recall what they have eaten in the past."
Nutrition "expert" Michael Pariza of the University of Wisconsin said, "It would be extremely premature to draw any conclusions from this type of study."
The investigators did not advise people to give up hot dogs, saying their "studies are too preliminary to have established a cause and effect link." The research was based on 621 cancer patients and an equal number of controls. In fact, the American Cancer Society specifically said they wanted to study the matter further. They said the same thing in 1981, some 13 years ago, when The Cancer Chronicles wrote an article on carcinogenic nitrates in frankfurters!
It might be worth remembering that when a very few children, certainly far less than 621, suffocated as a result of playing with polyethylene cleaner's bags, the use of the bags was immediately and sharply curtailed and warnings were required to be printed on all plastic bags. We seem to be far less concerned with our children's health and welfare, choosing to turn a blind eye when it requires that we look at a food habit that we have given to them, and that we have ourselves.
It is becoming abundantly clear that the food industry, meat packers, FDA and medical community won't protect us, especially if we do not demand it. They will protect industrial profits, jobs and economic interests, no matter how many of our children it costs. We must protect ourselves! Would it not be much wiser, in the interest of protecting our children, to strongly advise mothers to curtail their children's consumption of hot dogs and lunch meats, and print warning labels on their containers until the foods have been proven to be safe? In the light of these findings, and similar findings that have been accumulating for the past 15 years, would it not be in order to warn pregnant women of the potential danger to their fetuses, as we do in the case of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)? Or is it simply easier to blame the demon alcohol, and not look at the other demons we are harboring?
In the meantime, would you want your children to consume any amount of hot dogs, bologna, salami, bacon or ham?
Article The Gerson Institute.
By Charlotte Gerson