Chicken Dioxins, Viruses, or Antibiotics?

Chicken Dioxins, Viruses, or Antibiotics?


“Chicken Dioxins, Viruses, or Antibiotics?” Why was there so much more
lymphoma and leukemia risk among those eating just a
small serving of chicken a day? The reasons are unclear. Certainly there are industrial
carcinogens, like dioxins, that may increase risk of
non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and have been found
in meat and dairy. But the study did not observe an
increased risk in association with high milk consumption,
so that’s probably not it. “Secondly, poultry may contain
oncogenic [or cancer-causing] viruses, especially if the meat
is not cooked well.” And it’s interesting; there are actually
studies in the U.S. reporting a lower risk of lymphoma in women
consuming well-done meat. You’d think it’d be the other way around,
because of the heterocyclic amines— the cooked meat carcinogens
created when you grill chicken— but not if it’s the viruses in
chicken that are responsible. Then, the hotter you cook it, right,
the more viruses you wipe out. “Oncogenic animal viruses
[cancer-causing animal viruses] have been suspected as causes”
of lymphoma among farmers and slaughterhouse workers,
but this is just preliminary: “meat consumption
has not been connected with transmission of
oncogenic viruses yet.” And their third theory why poultry
was so significantly associated with blood and lymph node cancers is,
maybe it’s because chickens and turkeys are often treated
with antiparasitic drugs and antibiotics, to enhance growth of the animals, and
to treat and prevent disease— especially given the conditions in
which many of them are now raised. And indeed, antibiotic use has
sometimes been associated with the risk of lymphoma. “However, it is unclear whether the
association between antibiotic use and cancer risk is [cause and effect], and,
more importantly, whether antibiotic use in food animals can affect
cancer risk in human beings.” Bottom line, we just don’t know yet
why the cancer-chicken connection.

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