WASHINGTON D.C. — A provocative billboard will warn baseball fans flocking to the All-Star Game at Kauffman Stadium on July 10 that eating hot dogs can greatly increase their risk of colorectal cancer. The billboard, sponsored by the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, reads “Warning: Hot Dogs Can Strike You Out—For Good,” and directs readers to www.PCRM.org.
The billboard features an image of hot dogs jammed into a cigarette pack labeled “Unlucky Strikes,” and is located at the exit ramp to Kauffman Stadium on I-435 one mile south of I-70. PCRM has also written a letter to Jim Rowland, executive director of the Jackson County Sport Complex Authority which owns and operates Kauffman Stadium, asking him to require warning labels on all hot dogs served at Kauffman Stadium. The label would read: “Warning: Hot Dogs and Other Processed Meats Increase the Risk of Colon and Rectal Cancer.”
“Hot dogs can cause cancer, and like cigarettes they should come with a warning label,” says PCRM chief medical officer Ulka Agarwal. “Just one hot dog a day increases a person’s colorectal cancer risk by 21 percent. Add to that other processed meats people could be eating daily, like bacon, pepperoni, and sausage, and the health risk multiplies.”
Hot dogs are popular eats at ballparks and this season fans are expected to chow down on 20.5 million hot dogs as they watch the games, according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council. At Kauffman Stadium 8,000 hot dogs were sold on the day of this year’s opening game alone. Offerings at the stadium for the All-Star game will include such unhealthy eats as Royal Blue Dog, a hot dog topped with blue cheese and bacon, which is also a processed meat, and the All-Star BBQ Dog, a hot dog topped with pulled pork and coleslaw.
Missouri has one of the highest colorectal cancer rates in the country. Every year, nearly 3,200 Missouri residents are diagnosed with colorectal cancer and 1,200 die of it.
Consuming processed meats increases the risk of colorectal cancer, according to a large number of studies, including the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study. A study from the Harvard School of Public Health says that a daily serving of processed meats, like one hot dog, sausage, or a few bacon strips, increases the risk of premature death by 20 percent.
For a copy of the billboard image or the letter to Mr. Rowland, or to speak with Ulka Agarwal, M.D., contact Dania DePas at 202-527-7382 or DDePas@PCRM.org.
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.