This can’t be good PR for the beef and barbecue industry, everyone that sells barbecue and fried foods, and the aficionados of all things thereof.
I should know — I am one of those beloved people, equipped with the XXL grill in the backyard, devotee of BBQ sauce drizzling on my “Kiss the Cook” apron, and full of the proclivity to purchase a fried artifact every now and again. However, when I stumbled upon this story from Slate, I didn’t hurl my “I Heart BBQ” friends card out of my window (I am a Texan after all) but I did think twice about buying a Turkey Leg recently.
So that counts for something right? I mean, we could be talking cancer here. How? Find out after the jump…
Okay, here’s the dilly-Yo: It turns out, according to the research that Brian Palmer (Slate’s “Chief Explainer”) dug up, you could be — as his headline exclaims — “Cooking up Cancer.” Smokers, grillers, fry daddies and consumers, you are all at risk according to what Mister-I-Bet-There-Is-A-Vegan-Among-Us-Palmer writes:
A growing body of research suggests that cooking meats over a flame is linked to cancer. Combusting wood, gas, or charcoal emits chemicals known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Exposure to these so-called PAHs is known to cause skin, liver, stomach, and several other types of cancer in lab animals. Epidemiological studies link occupational exposure to PAHs to cancer in humans. When PAHs from a flame mingle with nitrogen, say from a slab of meat, they can form nitrated PAHs, or NPAHs. NPAHs are even more carcinogenic than PAHs in laboratory experiments.
He goes on to cite a 2012 study that links smoked meat consumption to breast cancer. Now, why he wants to ruin our day this close to the Super Bowl, I have no clue, but there it is. Death to BBQ enthusiasts. Of course, the concern is more a worry about cooking meat over high heat, even without active combustion. And just when I was becoming a fan of Palmer’s very thorough expose on the ills of BBQ comes this pull quote:
From a 1950s perspective, cigarettes weren’t that different from eating grilled or fried meat.
Weeping and gnashing of teeth can’t equate to the anger I felt when I read that line. I’ve been victimized by smoking in several ways and then, “from a 1950s perspective” albeit, we get barbecue could be just as bad?
Some of my fondest memories are with family and friends sopping up a biscuit in that brown, murky love sauce. Granted, many of those people in my memories were sucking on a cancer stick, so perhaps I should reconsider writing the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association a letter inciting protest. And possibly riot.
Ah well, looks like I need to call off that BBQ Cookoff for Cancer I had planned. I’ll ruminate that over a two-piece meat plate of brisket and baked beans.
Happy Super Bowl Sunday, y’all.