Monday, October 26, 2015

WHO: Everything Will Kill You!

Yes, this is a real billboard outside of Las Vegas. 
Every couple of years, some university, health organization, lobbying group, or research body releases results stating that something causes cancer. Sometimes those finding are reversed or amended but lately the list seems to just keep getting longer and longer. Today, there were a number of things added to that ‘confirmed’ cancer list when the United Nations World Health Organization released their findings which stated that processed meats cause cancer. The Associated Press summed up the announcement pretty succinctly by stating the following:

The World Health Organization threw its global weight behind years of experts' warnings and declared Monday that processed meats raise the risk of colon and stomach cancer and that red meat is probably harmful, too.

Meat producers are angry, vegetarians are feeling vindicated, and cancer experts are welcoming the most comprehensive pronouncement yet on the relation between our modern meat-eating lifestyles and cancer.

The WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France, analyzed decades of research and for the first time put processed meats in the same danger category as smoking or asbestos. That doesn't mean salami is as bad as cigarettes, only that there's a confirmed link to cancer. And even then, the risk is small.

Of course, as I originally stated, these are only the most recent additions to a long list of things found in everyday life that will give you cancer. While many of the obvious chemicals and addictive habits are listed, there are also items that we encounter every day that would have a hypochondriac hyperventilating each morning when they open their eyes. Basically, if you are a smoker who eats red meat and works in the automotive, construction, wood working, or tanning industry (or does any of those as a hobby) you should be dead in about 48 hours. Heck, pretty soon they will probably find that laying down while sleeping causes cancer.

And things are only going to get worse as was reported today by Bloomberg Business:

Next year the WHO is likely to make headlines again. In addition to evaluating several industrial chemicals, it is revisiting two beverages that, like meat, are dietary staples for millions: Hot mate, a traditional caffeinated drink popular in Latin America, and—brace yourself—coffee.

So, how can we sum up these findings? What would give a full picture of the hazards found in modern day life? I think it is best put by saying that living will kill you. Sure, you can avoid all the things that the WHO lists and that doctors try to steer you away from but if you do that what kind of life are you going to live. We can’t avoid everything that the “experts” say will cause cancer, the only thing we can do is live. Does that mean that everyone should run out the door and light up? Heck no. But we can’t be afraid to live life and not worry about all the dangers that are, literally, floating around us.

Leave it to the UN to try and shift our focus away from the real world and the things that are truly important to living a full and meaningful life. Our focus should be avoiding the drunk driver heading straight at us rather than on the person driving next to us smoking a cigarette. There are other things in this world that require our attention, our focus, and our energy. This applies to both the dangers and the beauty that surrounds us. The one inevitability in life is death so enjoy the time that you have and live!