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Burn, Baby, Burn... but don't breathe in
July 19, 2010 5:20 AM   Subscribe

Having a barbecue this summer? There are any number of safety initiatives to alert you to the dangers inherent in lighting one, but a lot less gets said about how to avoid exposing yourself to carcinogenic compounds. Help is at hand from the American Cancer Society, Younger Clearer Skin, David A. Fein MD from the Princeton Longevity Center and Boris Johnson [YouTube]. Kinda.
posted by The Ultimate Olympian (22 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
The good news, or so I believe, is that drinking lots of beer negates all the carcinogenic compounds of barbecue.

Or so I believe.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:42 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's not the smoke. It's the doneness of the meat!

Over the 9 year period, the researchers found that people who preferred well-done meat -- whether bacon, sausage, hamburger, or steak – tended to have an increased risk of getting pancreatic cancer.

"We found that those who preferred very well-done steak were almost 60% more likely to get pancreatic cancer as those who ate steak less well-done or did not eat steak," Anderson said
- from the American Cancer society link
posted by vacapinta at 5:42 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Really, the safest place is your Suburban, idling in the garage, ready to power down the driveway and over a whole heap of dogs.
posted by turgid dahlia at 5:43 AM on July 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


What the American Cancer Society do with all their time if they didn't have abuse of statistics to occupy them?

(Also, how well does meat-eating in the first place correlate with cancer? Graphs here are oldish but sobering.)
posted by DU at 5:48 AM on July 19, 2010


I like graphs that are youngish and drunk.
posted by jimmythefish at 6:06 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've always wondered what the deal is with carcinogenics. It appears everything but clear water causes cancer in some way. I assume this has always been the case, but why is it such a big issue in modern times? Is it just that we live long and healthly enough that it starts to become a problem?
posted by Harry at 6:06 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Everything gives you cancer.
posted by applemeat at 6:13 AM on July 19, 2010


Kill or Cure?
posted by vacapinta at 6:20 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


You will get my grill when you pry it from my cold dead hands.

Apparently sooner than later...
posted by Splunge at 6:23 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


My wife's grandmother lived to 98 and grandfather to 102. They boiled their steaks.

I think quality of life is the real issue.
posted by hal9k at 6:54 AM on July 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


LALALALALALALALALALALALA me and my BBQ ribs can't hear you LALALALALALALALALALALALA
posted by liza at 6:58 AM on July 19, 2010


It's not cancer that gets you. It's the damn gout.

goddamn, my foot hurts.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:11 AM on July 19, 2010


DU: What the American Cancer Society do with all their time if they didn't have abuse of statistics to occupy them?

I'm curious how the ACS abuses statistics? Not snark - genuine question!
posted by burnfirewalls at 7:14 AM on July 19, 2010


It appears everything but clear water causes cancer in some way.

Steer clear of that stuff, buddy - have you seen what it does to pipes?
posted by turgid dahlia at 7:23 AM on July 19, 2010


One of the big problems for people trying to be healthy is that we have different agencies who battle different diseases and warn you about domain specific dangers to your health. Cooking your meat well done does increase the likelihood of cancer but it decreases the likelihood of parasites and bacterial infection. Yes the sun causes skin cancer but vitamin d-deficiency has many serious health consequences and even if you don't have any sort of clinical depression or seasonal defective disorder ordinary mood and energy levels are likely significantly influenced by exposure to sunlight in a way that probably has significant impacts on quality of life and mortality.

Coffee is simultaneous bad for you and good for you in a dozen different ways because human bodies and minds and lives are complicated and tons of things can go wrong. I'm not asking for holistic medicine in any sort of new agey sense, but it does seem like disease evangilists seem to quantify health narrowly as the absense of specific pathologies.
posted by I Foody at 7:32 AM on July 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


I've had a lot of meat cooked well at other people's cookouts, and I'm going to need a lot of paper to tot up just exactly how much beer I need to drink to balance that all out.
posted by Wolfdog at 7:55 AM on July 19, 2010




Over the 9 year period, the researchers found that people who preferred well-done meat -- whether bacon, sausage, hamburger, or steak – tended to have an increased risk of getting pancreatic cancer.

In related news, people who prefer well-done meat also have an increased risk of not being allowed to grill in the first place.
posted by madajb at 11:18 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Barbecue is not a verb. Barbecue is not a grill. Barbecue is meat, prepared in a special way.

Oh, the OED would beg to differ:

Barbecue
(n.):

1. A rude wooden framework, used in America for sleeping on, and for supporting above a fire meat that is to be smoked or dried.

1697 W. DAMPIER Voy. (1699) I. 20 And lay there all night, upon our Borbecu's, or frames of Sticks, raised about 3 foot from the Ground. Ibid. I. 86 His Couch or Barbecu of Sticks.

2. An iron frame for broiling very large joints.

1736 BAILEY Househ. Dict. 347 When the belly side is..steady upon the gridiron or barbecue, pour into the belly of the hog, etc.

3. A hog, ox, or other animal broiled or roasted whole; see also quot. 1861, and BARBECUE v. 2.

1764 FOOTE Patron I. i. (1774) 6, I am invited to dinner on a barbicu. 1825 Schuylkill Fishing Co. in Bibliographer Dec. (1881) 25/1 A fine barbacue with spiced sauce. 1861 TYLOR Anahuac iv. 95 A kid that had been cooked in a hole in the ground, with embers upon it... This is called a ‘barbacoa’a barbecue.

4. a. A large social entertainment, usually in the open air, at which animals are roasted whole, and other provisions liberally supplied. Also attrib. orig. U.S.

1733 B. LYNDE Diary (1880) 138 Fair and hot; Browne, barbacue; hack overset. 1809 W. IRVING Knickerb. IV. ix. (1849) 240 Engaged in a great ‘barbecue,’ a kind of festivity or carouse much practised in Merryland. 1815 Salem (Mass.) Gaz. 30 June 3/2 An elegant Barbacue Dinner. 1881 H. PIERSON In Brush 90 On any occasion when the barbecue feast was to be the agreeable conclusion. 1884 Boston (Mass.) Jrnl. 27 Oct. 2/3 At the Brooklyn barbecue, which Governor Cleveland recently attended, 5000 kegs of beer were dispensed.

b. A structure for cooking food over an open fire of wood or charcoal, usu. out of doors, and freq. as part of a party or other social entertainment.

1931 Sunset June 10 (heading) How to build a barbecue. 1933 C. MCKAY Banana Bottom vii. 88 Her husband..had been the best barbecue-builder of Banana Bottom. 1965 Courier-Mail (Brisbane) 9 Oct. 17/9 To make a flowerpot barbecue get a clay flowerpot... When all the charcoal is red start cooking.

Barbecue (v.)

1. To dry or cure (flesh, etc.) by exposure upon a barbecue; see the n. (senses 1 and 5).

1661 HICKERINGILL Jamaica 76 Some are slain, And their flesh forthwith Barbacu'd and eat. 1775 ADAIR Amer. Ind. 408 They cut them [pompions] into..slices, which they barbacue, or dry with a slow heat.

2. To broil or roast (an animal) whole; e.g. to split a hog to the backbone, fill the belly with wine and stuffing, and cook it on a huge gridiron, basting with wine. Sometimes, to cook (a joint) with the same accessories. See also BARBECUE n. 3.

1690 A. BEHN Widow R. II. iv. 356 Let's barbicu this fat rogue. 1702 C. MATHER Magn. Christi VII. vi. (1852) 556 When they came to see the bodies of so many of their countrymen terribly barbikew'd. 1769 MRS. RAFFALD Eng. Housekpr. (1778) 111 To barbecue a Leg of Pork. 1823 LAMB Roast Pig, Elia (1867) 163 Barbecue your whole hogs to your palate. 1920 J. M. HUNTER Trail Drivers of Texas 82 We killed and barbecued a beef.
posted by Floydd at 11:18 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I could listen to Boris Johnson pronounce the phrase "polyaromatic hydrocarbons and benzopyrines" all day long.

If they cloned Boris Johnson, placed the clones on street corners throughout England, and had them all repeat the phrase "polyaromatic hydrocarbons and benzopyrines" over and over again in that low, lulling mumble, they wouldn't even need all those cameras, because every kind of crime would stop overnight. Also critical thought.
posted by koeselitz at 11:19 AM on July 19, 2010


Oh, the OED would beg to differ

They can beg all they want, they're still wrong.
posted by Fleebnork at 11:26 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


If BBQ kill me, I don't mind dyin'. I will be resolute, I will not falter, I will not look back. I will die.
posted by planetkyoto at 7:10 AM on July 20, 2010


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