Monday, October 26, 2015

Today in things that are slowly killing us...

Bacon. Yes, goddamn bacon. The World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (or IARC, if you're in a hurry) announced that red and processed meats cause colorectal, a.k.a. bowel cancer. As in cancer of the bowels.
Oh don't look so shocked, you had to know you
wouldn't come back from something like this.
Bacon is ranked as the #1 cause of
death among hipsters (source: science) 
They didn't say 'might' cause cancer or 'could possibly be a contributing factor' to cancer but instead in an unusually profanity laden statement said:

'Hey if you don't cut down on that greasy, carcinogenic smoked pig fat you've all been shoveling into your food-face, you will fucking die you stupid hipster schmuck.'

-The WHO
(direct quote)
"Mo'meat, mo'problems."
-Another direct quote
from Dr. Straif
Well, ok, to put the IARC's warning into numbers, 50 grams of processed meat per day increases the risk of bowel cancer by 18%. That's eighteen percent. Holy shit, right? In fact, the WHO is putting processed meat up there with asbestos, tobacco, diesel fumes and plutonium. Plutonium, as in the transuranic radioactive element we use for nuclear bombs and time machine fuel.

"For an individual, the risk of developing [bowel] cancer because of their consumption of processed meats remains small, but the rest increases with the amount of meat consumed."

-Dr. Kurt Straif from the IARC
not making us feel any better 

"Lunchables makes lunchtime fun! 
Until the test results come back..."
Wait, what? The risk 'remains small'? So it's just a small risk of bowel cancer? Ok, so eating processed meat every day doesn't actually give you an 18% greater chance of colostomy bags and an early, agonizing horror show of a death. It just raises your statical likelihood of developing bowel cancer from 5% to 6% which, through math, works out to be like an 18% increase. Since 18% is a way the hell scarier number, news sites go with panic and overreaction.* And I'm kind of ok with a little panic and overreaction. I just don't love cold cuts that much.

Did they really think they could say 'bowel cancer' and we wouldn't freak out about it? Like you can't just compare something people take for granted with smoking and the fires of a nuclear armageddon and then say 'but a little's probably ok.'
If bacon came with an 18% risk of venomous
snakes wouldn't we all kind of take pause?

*Correction! Yup, originally I used the 18% figure from the Huffington Post article because it was terrifying and therefore funnier, but then I was contacted by a scientist, an actual scientist who knows stuff and he explained why that number is kind of bullshit. Onward Stranger Fiction, now with 87% more science! (source: accurate science)

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