We all remember those joyful moments when we were kids and we loved eating hot dogs! It was a great easy snack, all you had to do is just pop it into the microwave after school. Then the favorite one – Hot dogs cut up in Mac & Cheese. Oh, those were the good ole days, haha!
And of course there’s those great picnics like on the 4th of July when dad would fire up the grill. The biggest hot dog holiday of the year is the Fourth of July, with Americans consuming an estimated 155 million wieners. Americanseat an estimated seven billion between Memorial Day and Labor Day,although they eat hot dogs all year long.
Yes, so what’s the big deal?
According to a L.A. Times article:
A USC epidemiologist has reported in a cancer research journal that: children who eat more than 12 hot dogs per month have 9 times the normal risk of developing childhood leukemia. Two other reports in the same issue of Cancer Causes and Control suggest that children whose fathers ate hot dogs before conception have double the normal risk of developing brain tumors, as do children born to mothers who eat at least one hot dog per week during pregnancy.
Nitrates in Hot Dogs
Concerned? Well you should be very concerned.
- What’s wrong with hot dogs?
- Carcinogen nitrite additives in hotdogs.
3 different studies have come out in the past year with apetition to ban nitrites, finding that the consumption of hot dogs can be a risk factor for childhood cancer.
Peters et al. studied the relationship between the intake of certain foods and the risk of leukemia in children from birth to age 10 in Los Angeles County between 1980 and 1987. The study found that there isa strong risk for childhood leukemiafor those children whose fathers’ intake of hot dogs was 12 or more per month and children eating more than 12 hot dogs per month have 9 times the normal risk of developing childhood leukemia.
Researchers Savitz and Sarusua while studying childhood cancer cases in Denver, found that children born to mothers who consumed hot dogs one or more times per week during pregnancy have approximately double the risk of developing brain tumors. Children who ate hot dogs one or more times per week were also at higher risk of brain cancer.
Bunin et al, also found that maternal consumption of hot dogs during pregnancy was associated with an excess risk of childhood brain tumors.
- How can hot dogs cause cancer?
- Hot dogs contain nitrites which are used primarily to combat botulism as preservatives. During the cooking process, nitrites combined with amines naturally present in meat to form carcinogenic N-nitroso compounds. It is also suspected that nitrites can combine with amines in the human stomach to form N-nitroso compounds. These compounds are known carcinogens and have been linked with cancer of the urinary bladder, stomach oral cavity, brain and esophagus.
- Some vegetables contain nitrites, do they cause cancer too?
- It is true that nitrites are commonly found in many green vegetables, especially green lettuce, celery and spinach. However, the consumption of vegetables appears to be effective in reducing the risk of cancer. How is this possible? The explanation lies in the formation of N-nitroso compounds from amines and nitrites. Nitrite containing vegetables also have Vitamin D and C, which serve to inhibit the formation of N-nitroso compounds. Consequently, vegetables are quite healthy and safe, and serve to reduce your cancer risk.
- Do other food products contain nitrites?
- Yes, all cured meats contain nitrites. These include fish and bacon.
- Are all hot dogs a risk for childhood cancer?
- No. Not all hot dogs on the market contain nitrites. Because of modern refrigeration methods, nitrites are now not used so much for preservation,but more for the red color they produce (which is associated with freshness). Nitrite-free hot dogs have a brownish color that has limited their popularity among consumers, while they taste the same as nitrite hot dogs. Nitrite-free hot dogs when cooked are perfectly healthy and safe.
HERE ARE FOUR THINGS THAT YOU CAN DO:
1. Request that your supermarket have nitrite-free hot dogs available.
2. Do not buy hot dogs that arefull of nitrite. It is especially important that potential parents and children do not consume 12 or more of these hot dogs per month.
3. Write the FDA and express your concern that nitrite-hot dogs are not labeled for their cancer risk to children. You should mention CPC’s petition on hot dogs, docket #: 95P 0112/CP1.
4. Do a little research and contact your local school board and find out whether children are being served nitrite hot dogs in the cafeteria. Start a petition and request that they use only nitrite-free hot dogs.