Huge Billboard Urges Cancer Warning on Hot Dogs at All-Star Game
Image of Hot Dogs in Cigarette Pack Highlights Processed Meat's Link to Colon Cancer; All-Star Attendees May Drop the Ball on Good Health if Not Warne
WASHINGTON—As thousands of baseball fans flock to Busch Stadium to watch President Obama throw the opening pitch at the 2009 All-Star Game in St. Louis, many will see a provocative highway billboard stating, "Warning: Hot Dogs Can Strike You Out—For Good."
Sponsored by the nonprofit Cancer Project, the 48-foot-wide digital billboard features an image of hot dogs jammed into a cigarette pack labeled "Unlucky Strikes." Located on I-70 one mile west of Lindbergh Blvd., the billboard is part of a campaign to persuade Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig to put a "dietary disaster" warning label on hot dogs served at Busch Stadium and other Major League Baseball stadiums because processed meats have been convincingly linked to colorectal cancer.
"Baseball stadiums need to be frank about the cancer risk posed by hot dogs and other processed meats," says Krista Haynes, R.D., a Cancer Project dietitian. "Just as tobacco causes lung cancer, processed meats are linked to colon cancer. Like cigarettes, hot dogs should come with a warning label that helps baseball fans and other consumers understand the health risk."
In March, the National Cancer Institute published a study of more than half a million people showing that red and processed meat intake is associated with a higher risk of dying from cancer and cardiovascular disease.
In 2007, the American Institute for Cancer Research published a landmark report showing that just one 50-gram serving of processed meat (about the amount in one hot dog) consumed daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer, on average, by 21 percent. Every year, about 150,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer and approximately 50,000 die of it.
At Busch Stadium, jumbo hot dogs and foot-long brats are served at Dizzy's Diner, Gashouse Grill, Plaza Grill, the Left Field Pavilion, and Triple Play. According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council's 2009 survey of hot dog and sausage consumption at major league ballparks in the United States, ballparks expected to sell 21 million hot dogs this season.
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.