Meat eaters the world over have been coming to the terms with the latest news that some of their favorite foods may cause cancer.
But the World Health Organization’s (WHO) findings need not be a source of worry for just carnivores as it appears anything from coffee to hair dressing may also be a cause of one of the world’s biggest killers.
The WHO’s report released on Monday classified processed meats like bacon and hot dogs as group one carcinogens and a cause of cancer. But WHO caveats its conclusions by saying that while processed meat can cause cancer they cannot be seen as dangerous as other substances in their group like tobacco.
Dr. Kurt Straif, section head of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a branch of WHO, said “for an individual, the risk of developing colorectal (bowel) cancer because of their consumption of processed meat remains small, but this risk increases with the amount of meat consumed.”
Indeed, there are almost 1,000 things listed by WHO as possible causes of cancer. Responding to the report, Betsy Booren, Ph.D. and vice president of Scientific Affairs at the North American Meat Institute said, “red and processed meat are among 940 agents reviewed by IARC and found to pose some level of theoretical ‘hazard.’ Only one substance, a chemical in yoga pants, has been declared by IARC not to cause cancer.”
“IARC says you can enjoy your yoga class, but don’t breathe air (Class I carcinogen), sit near a sun-filled window (Class I), apply aloe vera (Class 2B) if you get a sunburn, drink wine or coffee (Class I and Class 2B), or eat grilled food (Class 2A).And if you are a hairdresser or do shiftwork (both Class 2A), you should seek a new career,” she added.
Here’s a small sample of some of the potentially hazardous agents listed by WHO.
1. Salted fish, Chinese-style
5. Estrogen-only menopausal therapy
6. Leather dust
7. Wood dust
8. Art glass, glass containers and pressed ware
9. Working as a hairdresser or barber
11. Occupational exposures working in dry cleaning
12. Traditional Asian pickled vegetables
13. Work in the textile manufacturing industry
14. High-temperature frying
The list of all the WHO’s classifications can be found here.