Bacon Now Listed with Asbestos and Smoking as Deadly Carcinogens

There has been a lot of media attention lately and strong public reaction about a report released concerning bacon, which should be expected from both camps on the validity and importance of this recent report by the Worth Health Organization (WHO), according to a recent article by Reuters.

bacon-1-1323904The report conducted by the World Heath Organization and its Internal Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) stated there was a causal link between eating red meat and developing prostate cancer and pancreatic cancer. The agency also found that eating processed meats such as what is found in many sandwich meats, bacon, and other processed foods, increases one’s risk of colorectal cancer, if the patient eats these processed meats every day.

As far as how the agency feels about red meat, it was added to a probably carcinogenic group known as 2A. The active ingredient in most non-selective herbicides (weed killers) known as glyophosphate was also on the list.

One of the reasons this finding is so controversial is because of what else is on the same cancer causing substances lists as bacon and lunchmeat. The worst offenders are asbestos, cigarettes and industrial grade poisons. While the World Health Organization is stressing that it does not compare how harmful bacon is as compared to asbestos, the very idea of having it on the same list has created controversy.

First, let’s look at asbestos. Asbestos is naturally occurring mineral that has been mined for thousands of years and used very heavily from the industrial revolution in the early to mid 1800s to the late 1970s, when there was no question among the general public that it was toxic and had been killing people for decades. When asbestos has been inhaled for even a very short period of time, and our Boston mesothelioma attorneys have seen cases where even five days of exposure was enough to cause cancer, the fibers can become embedded in the lungs and the layer of tissue in the body known as the mesothelioma. Once it is there, it can metastasize over a period of 20 to 50 years into the deadly form of cancer known as mesothelioma. We are not talking about years of exposure, although that is often the case, but rather several days of exposure is enough to cause mesothelioma.

For bacon, on the other hand, it has been show that there might be a link to certain types of cancers if it eaten on regular basis in sufficient quantities. That quantity is just less than two ounces. So, if a person eats a lot of bacon or other fatty meats every day for years, there is an increased risk for certain types of cancer. However, we know that a short duration exposure to asbestos is enough to kill. It is for this reason that meat producers are in a panic with the comparison. German meat producers are putting out releases that their sausages are safe, and Italian companies are doing the same with their prosciutto products.   However, it should be noted that World Health Organization has stated that someone who eats a bacon sandwich once in a while is not in any increased danger.

If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma in Massachusetts, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.

Additional resources:

Bacon and other processed meats can cause cancer, experts say, October 15, 2015, Reuters, by Gus Trompiz and P.J. Huffstutter

More Blog Entries:

Asbestos In City Buildings Poses Risk, August 12, 2014, Boston Mesothelioma Layers Blog

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