Mass Spectrometry & Spectroscopy

  • Does Bacon Cause Cancer?

Does Bacon Cause Cancer?

Jan 22 2019 Read 1129 Times

Sizzling bacon may be one of the most enticing aromas on the planet but according to new research from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the tasty breakfast treat could be linked to cancer. Furthermore, the agency lists ham, salami and frankfurts alongside salt-cured pork. While the study has attracted plenty of controversy, agency director Christopher Wild maintains that the research is valid and should be taken seriously.

As an intergovernmental agency associated with the World Health Organisation of the United Nations, the IARC conducts and coordinates research into all types of cancers. Findings are usually well-received, though the agency sparked global outcry when it published reports suggesting that bacon, along with other red meats and glyphosate weedkiller, can cause cancer.

IARC claims bacon science is "crystal clear"

While the UN subsidiary stands by its research, Wild admits that communication lines could have been improved regarding how the information was published, and that public announcements were mishandled. "The audience has changed. If you went back 10 to 15 years the audience for the monographs was a professional audience – regulatory agencies, scientists, policymakers of different kinds. Now there’s such an interest in cancer and its causes that there’s a general public audience,” he explains.

That said, he maintains that ultimately, a link between eating bacon and developing cancer does exist. “The science was crystal clear,” he said. “We placed quite a bit of emphasis on the dose-response, if you like – the relationship between quantities eaten and effect.”

Understanding Grade 1 carcinogens

Wild also stresses that there is widespread misunderstanding of the IARC’s classification system, which categorises tobacco, ultraviolet radiation and alcohol as Grade 1 carcinogens, alongside processed meat. While scientific evidence suggests that all substances are strong enough to potentially cause cancer, they're not necessarily equally hazardous.

For example, the agency claims that consuming 50g of processed meat a day increases the risk of developing colorectal cancer by 18%, which is low for those with a low initial risk. It also states that eating 700 grams of red meat a week can increase the risk of developing bowel cancer. In comparison, smoking significantly increases the risk of developing lung cancer.

Want to know more about the latest health and medical developments? Spotlighting the recent regulations on heavy metal testing, 'Choosing the Optimum Plasma Spectrochemistry Technique for Measuring Elemental Impurities in Pharmaceuticals' is adapted from a chapter in Robert Thomas’s new book, Measuring Elemental Impurities in Pharmaceuticals: A Practical Guide.

Reader comments

Do you like or dislike what you have read? Why not post a comment to tell others / the manufacturer and our Editor what you think. To leave comments please complete the form below. Providing the content is approved, your comment will be on screen in less than 24 hours. Leaving comments on product information and articles can assist with future editorial and article content. Post questions, thoughts or simply whether you like the content.

Post a Comment

Digital Edition

Lab Asia August 2019

August 2019

In this Issue Articles Mass Spectrometry & Spectroscopy 67th ASMS Conference on Mass Spectrometry and Allied Topics Chromatography Using Gas Chromatography for measuring atmo...

View all digital editions


DioXin 2019

Aug 25 2019 Kyoto, Japan

ACS National Meeting & Expo, Fall 2019

Aug 25 2019 San Diego, CA, USA

Microscopy Conference 2019

Sep 01 2019 Berlin, Germany

BMSS Annual Meeting

Sep 03 2019 Manchester, UK

JASIS 2019

Sep 04 2019 Chiba City, Japan

View all events