Sure, you'd love a cup of coffee. It would help rev up the old engine and jump-start your day. Deodorant would be nice too. It's getting old walking around with your arms tightly folded across your chest. And that gray in your hair has got to go. But, sadly, you're a bit of news junky, so you know the truth: Everything causes cancer.
Well, according to Professor Bernard Stewart, of the University of New South Wales, it's not true. He's developed a new procedure to assess the cancer-inducing risk of various carcinogens. Previously, only mathematical models of prediction were available. These fell short in their ability to assess risk in varying sets of circumstances.
Professor Stewart's method addresses this issue. For example, arsenic is a known carcinogen. But, the manner of exposure is also important. Professor Stewart explained, "For instance, smelter workers who are exposed to arsenic emissions are much more likely to develop cancer than children who have played on climbing frames constructed from arsenic-treated timber - but the carcinogen is the same."
On a practical basis, the study served to debunk some common concerns, while reinforcing the danger of other substances. Smoking? Definitely still at the top of the list of cancer-causing activities. Exposure to sunlight is also high on the list. But, drinking coffee, using deodorant or hair dyes, talking on cell phones, and using artificial sweeteners are not as dangerous as many have believed. In fairness, further study is needed on the long-term effect of cell phone use.
So, go ahead. Have that cup of coffee. And, while you're at it, dye your hair and, for everyone's sake, dig around in the medicine cabinet and find that old stick of deodorant...To read more about the study, see this from Reuters. To read more about protecting yourself from excessive sun exposure, see this from the Environmental Protection Agency.