Bacon, Hot Dogs Seen as Cancer Risks

Is this the beginning of the end for bacon love?

In a report released Monday, the World Health Organization (WHO) says that bacon, hot dogs and other processed meats can lead to bowel cancer in humans and is a likely cause of the disease.

The organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), put processed meat in its group 1 list, which also includes tobacco and asbestos, for which there is "sufficient evidence" of cancer links. It also categorized red meat as a probable carcinogen. 

In carrying out its first formal review of the matter, the IARC analyzed about 800 studies. Each 50 gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18 percent, the agency estimated.

But meat industry groups rejected the findings as overly simplistic and by raising lethal concerns about a food that is a central part of many American meals, it's likely to spark a big negative reaction.

The $95 billion U.S. beef industry has been preparing for months to mount a response, and some scientists, including some unaffiliated with the meat industry, have questioned whether the evidence is substantial enough to draw the conclusions that the WHO panel did.

The IARC cited an estimate from the Global Burden of Disease Project - an international consortium of more than 1,000 researchers - that 34,000 cancer deaths per year worldwide are attributable to diets high in processed meat.

This compares with about 1 million cancer deaths per year globally due to tobacco smoking and 600,000 a year due to alcohol consumption.

This Week's Slice of History: A Killer Smog: Oct. 27, 1948 

Sourced from: Reuters , Bacon and other processed meat can cause cancer, experts say