The World Health Organization released their evaluation of the cancer risk associated with red and processed meat and it appears that Bacon, processed meats are now ranked alongside cigarettes and asbestos as known carcinogens.Processed meat now falls into “group 1,” meaning it ranks as high as tobacco smoking, the most dangerous variants of human papillomavirus (HPV) and asbestos exposure in terms of causing cancer. Red meat lands in “group 2A” with inorganic lead.
According to PBS.Org
The new investigation involved 22 scientists who were invited by the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer to assess the association between more than 16 types of cancer and the consumption of red meat and processed meat.
Over the course of seven days in early October, the scientific panel examined more than 800 epidemiological studies from the U.S., Europe, Japan, Australia and elsewhere. The scope covered multiple ethnicities and global diets, according to the report which was published today in the journal Lancet Oncology.
The WHO group “classified consumption of processed meat as ‘carcinogenic to humans’ on the basis of sufficient evidence for colorectal cancer.” Colorectal cancer is the second most lethal form of cancer in the U.S., causing nearly 50,000 deaths per year. Processed meat was also linked to a higher incidence of stomach cancer.
Red meat carries a slightly lower risk, the group says, but is still “probably carcinogenic to humans.” Aside from the “strong mechanistic evidence” related to colorectal cancer, the “consumption of red meat was also positively associated with pancreatic and with prostate cancer.
As a main line of evidence, the group cites one study from 2011, which combed through 28 studies on meat consumption and cancer risk dating back to 1966. That meta analysis found that colorectal cancer risk jumps by 17 percent for every 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of red meat consumed each day. Meanwhile with processed meat, colorectal cancer risk increases by 18 percent for every 50 grams (1.7 ounces) eaten each day.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer keeps a list of compounds or activities with suspected, probable and definitive links to cancer, with each possible item falling into a designated grouping based on whether or not it causes cancer.