Hot dogs are easy snacks and we love them. However L.A. Times say:
“Children who eat more than 12 hot dogs per month have nine times the normal risk of developing childhood leukemia, a USC epidemiologist has reported in a cancer research journal. Two other reports in the same issue of Cancer Causes and Control suggest that children born to mothers who eat at least one hot dog per week during pregnancy have double the normal risk of developing brain tumors, as do children whose fathers ate hot dogs before conception.”
Nitrates in hot dogs
What is wrong with hot dogs – there have been 3 different studies which found out that the consumption of hot dogs are risk factors for childhood cancer. There has been a research on the relationship between the intake of certain foods and the risk of leukemia in children aged 10 in LA County in the period between 1980-1987 by Peters et al. they came to a discovery that those children who ate more than 12 hot dogs a month had 9 times the normal risk of developing childhood leukemia. There was a great risk posed for this disease for children whose fathers’ intake of this food was 12 or more per month.
Childhood cancer cases in Denver have been studied by Sarusua and Savitz and they discovered that children born to mother that consumed hot dogs one or more times weekly during pregnancy has double the risk of developing brain tumors. Moreover, children who ate hot dogs more than one times weekly were at a higher risk of brain cancer.
Maternal consumption of hot dogs during pregnancy was also associated with an excess risk of childhood brain tumors according to Bunin et al.
How can hot dogs cause cancer – there are nitrites in hot dogs which are used as preservatives for fighting botulism. When cooking occurs, nitrites combine with amines naturally present in meat to form carcinogenic N-nitroso compounds which are known carcinogens and have been associated with cancer of the oral cavity, urinary bladder, esophagus, stomach, and brain.
Some vegetables contain nitrites, but do they cause cancer – spinach, celery, and green lettuce contain nitrites, but their consumption is effective in reducing the risk of cancer. This is due to the formation of N-nitroso compounds from nitrites and amines. Nitrite containing vegetables are packed with vitamins D and C and they serve for inhibiting the formation of N-nitroso compounds. Thus, vegetables are safe and healthy, serving to reduce the risk of cancer.
Are there any other foods which contain nitrites – all cured meats contain nitrites, including bacon and fish.
Are all hot dogs a risk for childhood cancer – not all hot dogs on the market contain nitrites. Nitrites are no used for the color red, associated to freshness, than for preservation. Nitrite-free hot dogs taste the same as the regular ones, but have brownish color with limited popularity among consumers. When they are cooked, nitrite-free hot dogs are healthy and safe.
You can do these things:
Do not buy hot dogs which contain nitrite and it is especially significant that children and potential parents do not consume more than 12 hot dogs monthly.
Request from your super market for nitrite-free hot dogs.
You can contact your local school board in order to find out if your children are being served nitrite hot dogs in the cafeteria and request that they use only healthy hot dogs.
Contact the FDA expressing your concern that they are not labeled. You can mention the CPC’s petition on hot dogs, docket #: 95P 0112/CP1.