MYTH Microwaving food in plastic wrap causes cancer.
TRUTH If the plastic is microwave-safe, there’s no danger. Cancer-causing dioxin is released only when plastic is burned. “And microwaves don’t burn plastic,” says Dr Jean Weese of the Alabama Cooperative Extension.
MYTH Consuming artificial sweeteners will lead to cancer.
TRUTH Over 30 years ago, when cyclamate (an artificial sweetener that has since been discontinued) was available, it was banned because it was believed to be linked to bladder cancer. “It is still banned, although subsequent studies have failed to demonstrate that it causes cancer,” says Dr See. “Later studies have also failed to establish a cancer link with the use of artificial sweeteners such as saccharin and aspartame, despite the urban legends.” The Food and Drug Administration of the US continues to study all new sweeteners for the market.
MYTH The chemicals used in dry cleaning will increase a person’s risk of cancer.
TRUTH While perchloroethylene (a dry cleaning chemical) has been shown to cause cancer in animals, no reliable link has been established in humans. “The perc cancer study results have been ambiguous,” says Dr Noel Weiss, a cancer researcher at the University of Washington. Don’t want to take any chances? Smell your clothes to estimate how much perc the dry cleaner’s extraction process has left behind. If you detect a chemical pong, try airing out your garments before putting them on. Or switch to a different dry cleaner – preferably one using D5 liquid silicone.
MYTH Heavy drinking cannot give someone cancer.
TRUTH If you’re already at risk for pancreatic cancer, a daily drink may speed the onset of this often fatal disease, report University of Michigan scientists. In a study, people who drank one brew a day acquired pancreatic cancer five years earlier than those who didn’t. “It appears that alcohol inflames the pancreas,” says study author Dr Michelle Anderson. “The more you drink, the greater the inflammation and the greater your risk.” So skip the drinks and consume more olive oil. European scientists found that the monounsaturated fatty acids in olive oil reduce damage to our cells’ DNA (closely linked to cancer risk) by 13 per cent