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Nitrates and Bladder Cancer

Common ingredients in processed meat like salami, bologna, hot dogs and ham may increase the risk of bladder cancer. Nitrates and nitrites are frequently used to preserve lunch meats and hot dogs. They also add the familiar pink color and add to the flavor of such foods. But researchers have raised concerns about the safety of such compounds for decades. A joint National Institutes of Health-AARP study of more than 300,000 older Americans lasted seven years. The investigators found that those people who consumed the most dietary nitrite in processed red meat were 30 percent more likely to be diagnosed with bladder cancer than those who ate the least. Beef, chicken and turkey were not linked to a higher risk of bladder cancer.

[Cancer, published online Aug 2, 2010]

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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