Don't freak out, but pickles may possibly kill you. Coffee, too.
June 2nd, 2011
04:45 PM ET
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As you continue to weigh the risks and benefits of using your cell phone, in light of the recent World Health Organization announcement that the phones may lead to cancer, consider how scared you are of pickled vegetables, gasoline and magenta dyes.

These are just some of the substances also lumped in the same group of "possible carcinogens," formally known as "group 2B carcinogens" on the WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer's list of known, likely and maybe-likely suspects.

In fact, coffee is in the same 2B category as cell phones because of evidence that drinking coffee could be associated with cancer of the large bowel. On the other hand, coffee was also recently linked to a lowered risk of fatal prostate cancer, so go figure.

And pickled vegetables, in case you were wondering, have been thought to increase the risk of gastric cancer, possibly. A meta-analysis of studies on Japanese and Korean populations, in which researchers looked at a bunch of studies that had been done in the past, found this association. Study authors concluded that a high intake of fresh vegetables, not pickled, is important for lowering the chances of getting gastric cancer. But, like studies on cell phones, this is based on observational data – information gathered about people's past behaviors, which were not in a controlled scientific setting.

Read - Coffee, pickled veggies also 'possibly' cause cancer. If you're feeling nihilistic, we have an excellent pickled pepper recipe.

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Filed under: Carcinogens • Dishes • Health News • Pickles • Pickles • Staples

soundoff (89 Responses)
  1. kendra

    I haven't had store bought pickles in 2.5 years. I make my own. they take 20 mins and theyre ready to eat in about 1 hour...its the keeping of the pickles for 5-6 weeks that's bad.. make your own and eat fresh pickles

    October 26, 2013 at 11:51 pm |
  2. I lovebacon

    A bitch why!!!!

    October 16, 2013 at 9:18 am |
  3. I lovepickels


    October 9, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
  4. i lovebacon

    Bacon bitch!!!

    October 7, 2013 at 9:33 am |
  5. i lovepickles

    ohh heck no pickles are my thing you can have bacon but you sure in hell cant have pickles!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 7, 2013 at 9:32 am |
  6. i lovebacon

    I love bacon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Pickels and bacon are my two favoirite things! but still pickles cant kill you trust me I eat them everyday! like a jar and bacon! so hop off!!!

    October 7, 2013 at 9:30 am |
  7. i lovepickles

    I love pickles and bacon!!! but you guys are crazy and physco!

    October 7, 2013 at 9:28 am |
  8. Flash Gordon

    Coffee will kill you ? NOOOOOOOOOOO!

    Well, will kill you if you get into a major fender bender coming out of Starbucks.

    June 30, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  9. Rollo

    I laugh because I read an article yesterday that showed in studies of both mice and humans Coffee has reduced the onset of Alzheimer's. So die of cancer or die of dementia hmmmm tough choice....

    June 30, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
  10. Tom

    It's true! Submerge yourself in coffee and pickle juice and you'll be dead in minutes. These dangerous liquids must be banned immerdiately.

    June 30, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
  11. donttreadonme

    Hey! This just too long has been shown to be fatal in all cases!

    June 28, 2011 at 7:43 am |
  12. Let's Be REAL

    If they actually took the time to read the research in question and look at the articles, they'd realize the 'findings' have no real scientific basis. This article is also old considering other news sites covered it about a month ago. All the 'researchers' did was search a bunch of similar sounding articles, and it quite literally says they just read the abstracts (and only if they were confused, the full article), slapped it together like some 8th grade science report, and published it. They essentially say in their conclusion that they didn't really do any work and that actual scientific studies need to be done to verify anything they've said. Any look at the sources they use, they're almost all based in China with very few of them focusing on Japan and NONE on Korea. Fear mongering at it's best.

    Go and actually read the research if you doubt anything I said:

    June 28, 2011 at 1:00 am |
  13. txgi307

    There is not one thing in this world that won't kill you. Everything in moderation. As long as you're not an idiot and you don't overdo it, you'll be fine.

    June 27, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
  14. jorge washinsen

    We could speed things up and not eat anything. If we go to the doctor for a regular check up ,expecting nothing unusual ,and he tell us we have a week to live, we would probably die in a week from the news.

    June 27, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
  15. jorge washinsen

    Worrying about the unknown will also kill you.

    June 27, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
  16. Within Reason

    The effects of coffee are well documented and can be attributed to stomach and intestinal cancer. Moderation in all things and obedience to that which you are bound is a good policy. Some people have a greater propensity for cancer than others. All of us will die in some way. If we are blessed with old age, thank the Good Lord!

    June 27, 2011 at 6:06 am |
    • Matt

      In 20 years the oceans will be dead and there will be no fresh water to drink. Enjoy what you want while there is some time left.

      June 27, 2011 at 7:34 am |
    • Dead B4 Me@Matt

      Is THAT where you get your fresh drinking water? From oceans? Or are you taking a giant ecological leap? KUTGW.

      June 27, 2011 at 7:39 am |
      • Party on b 4 u

        He said that the oceans would be dead, not dried up.

        June 27, 2011 at 8:26 am |
  17. Ryan

    Ok i hate these things cause what is good for one thing will give yu cancer somewhere else. I suppose they are gonna put pictures on coffe cups now too like the cigarettes. I guess ill just have to eat crabs and ice water for the rest of my life. But oh wait the plastic bottles are linked to tumors there goes that idea guess ill just live on happiness and rainbows.

    June 25, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
  18. Phil in Oregon

    According to Shrek, "Here's a news flash fer ya." You're going to die. No matter what they tell you, it's going to happen within the next century.

    June 23, 2011 at 9:57 am |
    • DontListenToPhil

      Don't eat carrots! Everyone who ate carrots 200 years ago IS NOW DEAD ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ;-)

      June 26, 2011 at 1:08 am |
  19. Matt M

    This just in: Not having cancer may cause cancer. If you do not have cancer, YOU may be at risk for getting cancer. Please do not eat food, breath air, or be within ten miles of anything, or you might get cancer. And for the love of god, don't try and avoid getting cancer, the extra stress might give you cancer. Cancer cancer cancer, cancer cancer. Cancer? Cancer.

    June 18, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
    • Jason

      Side note... reading, hearing, or talking about cancer puts you at an elevated risk of cancer. Oh... and petting, holding, and just simply looking at cute little puppies of all breeds and/or kittens of any kind will elevate your cancer risk.

      June 22, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
  20. Miss Wolfy

    What DOESN'T kill you nowadays? Seriously, at this point, it wouldn't surprise me if breathing wouldn't put me six feet in the ground. >.>;

    June 17, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • cowgirl

      Depends on where you are doing your breathing... we will die taking that last breath . Hope mine smells like coffee!

      June 18, 2011 at 11:49 am |
  21. Believe It or Not! now it is pickles aaaaaaannnnnnnd coffeee?!? Yeah right. I was recently told that the peeling of mango skins is poisonous and that it is used to make pesticides. So...NOW they tell me this after I have been eating ripened mango peelings for over 15 years. Oh and by the way...I havent stopped.

    June 16, 2011 at 8:13 am |
    • Jibbity Jabbity

      MMM mmmaannggoooozzz so good.

      June 16, 2011 at 8:21 am |
  22. cnnblowsme

    Going to work can kill you, going home can kill you, eating can kill you, drinking can kill you... wow thanks, lets try to freak more people out.

    June 14, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • Goober Grape@cnnblowsme

      If you're that easily riled up, go check the wind at foxnews. Their stfu cafe has seats available 24/7.

      June 14, 2011 at 11:02 am |
      • Nope Dopey Soapey

        Ya har de har har!

        June 14, 2011 at 11:03 am |
  23. Xava

    They do not tell us which Korean & Japanese pickled foods – or how they were pickled. My guess is that if pickling is done the true "old fashioned way" – ie, raw fermented – as was once done not only in Asia but in Germany (yes sauerkraut originally wasn't cooked) and elsewhere, they would find all good benefits from the "good" bacteria.

    June 13, 2011 at 9:42 pm |
  24. GwT

    News flash: We're all going to die.

    June 13, 2011 at 12:20 am |
  25. jay

    U.S. pickling is different from eastern Asian pickling. I believe there has been no such link to consuming pickled products and cancer in the U.S.

    June 11, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
  26. Tod

    The primary cause of cancer is living.

    June 11, 2011 at 7:52 am |
  27. me

    The only thing you CAN count on is that you are dying of something, enjoy what you can of the prosses. Don't dwell on it.

    June 10, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
  28. G

    I'm gonna go home and eat a potato (skin and all), a bunch of dill pickles, a nicely charred steak, drink some coffee and talk on my cell phone the whole time. I should have cancer by the time I'm done eating.

    June 10, 2011 at 10:58 am |
  29. Zach

    This article is a waste of my time. Coffee is good for you, coffee is bad for you, coffee is good for you, coffee is bad for you. I'm sure there's other foods we should be more concerned about than these items. Thanks CNN

    June 9, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
  30. jjdearth

    Vinegar in this pickling process is excelllent for your health. And.....I'll never give up of the great pleasures of life.
    Hey, we all got to die of something.... Life is short, enjoy what you want.
    They will come out with a new study on this in five years, and reverse all this.

    June 9, 2011 at 1:48 am |
  31. jellylee2020

    Don't freak out, but one day you will die.

    June 8, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
    • Zach

      NOOOO...suprised that CNN hasn't covered this topic yet.

      June 9, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  32. Science

    Go take a chemistry class. Radio and microwaves don't affect the intermolecular bonds that, when broken, damage DNA.

    The minute amount of radiation still produced by your cell phone when it transmits the actual cell signal is completely insigngnificant, and your phone already has internal shielding that keeps it away from the face of your phone (the side you put up to your ear).

    This is akin to freaking out about radiation from the Japanese nuclear leak reaching the US. The amount of radiation that actually arrived was less than one thousandth of the amount of background radiation we experience every day.

    June 8, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
  33. Eagle Eye

    What an incredibly stupid article.

    June 8, 2011 at 9:08 am |
    • Eagle Eye

      And..I guess I should put away my canning supplies and stop growing fresh garden vegetables and only eat processed foods and McDonalds? How about a decent article on how to grow fresh vegetables in the city? I'm sure we wont be seeing that one anytime soon. Sick people = $$.

      June 8, 2011 at 9:11 am |
      • Mark

        Actually, they have posted quite a few articles on inner city gardening. Check the archives.

        June 8, 2011 at 9:16 am |
    • Ding dong

      Grumpy much?

      June 8, 2011 at 9:17 am |
  34. D. Rivel

    this article is nothing but drivel. I want facts not ghost stories. This is so lame . . .

    June 8, 2011 at 2:52 am |
  35. Justin

    Typical CNN sensationalism. Why I don't come here much anymore. Al Jazeera is better at giving facts without headlines like "DONT FREAK OUT BUT....". What am I, 12?

    June 8, 2011 at 1:34 am |
  36. Bad Patient

    maybe it's bpa in the canning jar lids, and corn in the vinegar for pickles? do fungi really get killed in canning processes or was that just what they thought years ago?

    June 7, 2011 at 10:10 pm |
  37. nina786

    wowww really...:)

    June 7, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
  38. nina786

    wowww really...:)

    June 7, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
  39. MD/PhD Student

    Bingo. Cell phones do not cause cancer. The evidence is all correlational epidemiology... aka weak evidence. Hard science does not support the concept of radio or microwaves causing cancer, end of story. Until a real scientist shows otherwise, I am very unimpressed by the WHO report.

    June 6, 2011 at 8:14 pm |
    • Apul Madeek-Aoud

      Well...someone with your ego I mean 'credentials' must be right afterall, you've had the luxury of time & money to sit on your tocus to get a few boxtops.

      As for MD/PhD I am really unimpressed.

      June 23, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
  40. Sinister Sister

    So if you then read the article "10 Best Foods for your Stomach" they go onto tell you that pickles are good for you because they help to digest your food. We should all just go have ourselves put to sleep now.

    June 6, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
  41. dan

    well: if i don't drink coffee i won't be productive at work. if i am not productive at work, then i'll get fired. if i get fired, then i'll be depressed. if i am depressed, i'll turn to drugs to dull the pain. if i start taking drugs, i chance OD'ing. So whats worse, CNN? Drugs or coffee. You're move........

    June 6, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • Dr. Joe Blow, MD PhD RD LD DIC DPMO

      Your move .... sigh.

      June 24, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
      • Dr.Kildare

        You Blow Joe.Here is a scalpel,pick your boogers.

        June 24, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
    • Phil

      I'll stick with my coffee. Touch my coffee and you start to lose fingers!

      July 2, 2011 at 3:20 pm |

    EAT UP

    June 6, 2011 at 5:09 am |
  43. craig

    Who cares?

    June 5, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
    • Zach

      the CNN employee who woke up and realized he had nothing to write about, so he found this lame topic that will get people talking...and waste their time. that's who cares :)

      June 9, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • Hallmark@craig & zach

      Both of you cared enough to leave comments. Who cares? You do. D!ckwads

      June 9, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
      • Graic@Hallmark@craig & zach

        It's not nice to leave un-nice comments.

        July 1, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • Graic

      Not me!

      July 1, 2011 at 11:56 am |
  44. JRs

    why wouldn't coffee be bad for you? it contains caffeine, which is a natural insecticide. it is a nature-made poison. it doesn't make it less bad for cell phones to be grouped with pickles and dyes. have you heard of kids who used to swim in colored lakes where dye manufacturers dumped their waste? the stories invariably end with many of those kids getting cancer.

    June 5, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • Mamie

      I only swims in segregated lakes. Makes me feel safer!

      June 5, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • G

      Whites-only lakes for me, thanks.

      June 10, 2011 at 10:56 am |
      • you know

        Good that way we know where all the snake heads are at

        June 15, 2011 at 8:36 pm |
      • Southerner

        All the snake heads are on Anthony Weiner's Twitter page.

        June 17, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
  45. Evil Grin

    try to take my pickled vegetables, and it might kill you.

    okay, well maybe just maim, a little.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:33 am |
    • jude mignacca

      @evilgrin: Totally agree! Hands off my dill pickles and sweet gherkins or it's war!!

      June 3, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
      • Jessica

        Haha! I totally agree! Idc if they could 'possibly' be bad for me they are sooooo good!! =)

        June 7, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
    • Bad Patient

      i thought that too until i figured out they had corn in them. corn makes me sick. no wonder we have chronic illness in this country...can't stay away from corn.

      June 7, 2011 at 10:15 pm |
    • max

      pickles suck and should only be served upon request. you can ask for double if you like it because a large number of people cant stand pickle juice anywhere near their food.

      June 23, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
      • Jess

        @max I'm totally with you there. Pickles have ruined meals for me. Like seriously if you put the pickle on my plate the juice gets on everything! Sometimes restaurants tell me they're out of pickles like I'm going to be sad about it or something. I wish they would ask if I even want it near my food.

        June 28, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
  46. kleenmary

    wow..way to oversimplify the very real danger of holding radiation against your body year after year...have you been told to write a brief silly article that would calm the masses? Because this was downright insulting to our intelligence.

    June 3, 2011 at 8:59 am |
    • Jerv@kleenmary

      "our intelligence." You're obviously not speaking for the rest of the readers here so you must have a mouse in your pocket which speaks volumes about your "intelligence."

      June 6, 2011 at 7:28 am |
    • Alex

      I'm sorry you do not understand the difference in electromagnetic radiation. If you believe cell phones can cause cancer then the fundamentals of our science is wrong or more plausibly, you are wrong. Microwaves have been around for awhile, and you think no studies have ever been conducted on whether or not they could cause cancer? Well to save you from thinking too much, there has been many studies and they all confirm the same thing: Microwaves are too big to damage/mutate cells on a molecular (DNA) level. Mutations in our DNA can cause what people call cancer.

      The study done by the WHO was ruled inconclusive, yet it few news sources are mentioning that. Science should not be in absolutes, but saying something "may" cause you cancer is being disingenuous to the readers. The sun "may" cause you cancer too. Water "may" cause you cancer. Does that mean you should stop going outside or drink water? Well maybe you should...

      June 13, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
      • Ditchthephones

        Maybe its the inane conversations on cell phones that causes cancer. I know hearing other's conversations causes me great pain and suffering which is stressful and stress is probably the leading cause of human demise.

        June 15, 2011 at 9:18 am |
      • John

        Maybe cancer is being caused by all the nuclear testing from the late 40's, 50's and 60's. All the coincidental observations that occur now (pickles, cell phones, over cooked meat...etc) are a result of that radiation still in our atmosphere. After the nuclear leaks after the Japan crisis and its spreading across the globe, is it really that difficult to believe?

        June 24, 2011 at 2:30 am |
  47. dave

    According to the complete WHO list, coffee has an *inverse* relationship to cancer of the large bowel, so it might actually help prevent it, not cause it.

    It looks to me like coffee made the rating because due to a possible link with cancer of the urinary bladder.

    I noted this on the "coffee" article too, but the CNN fact-checkers seem not to have noticed the glaring error in their article...

    June 3, 2011 at 12:55 am |
    • Bad Patient

      i looked around for answers to that before and it seems like i read that it wasn't the caffeine, but possibly the acids and oils in coffee that was a problem.

      June 7, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
    • Deuce

      I wonder if it's not so much the coffee itself as the crap it picks up in the environment and deposits in the beans.

      I mean, all this pollution has to go somewhere.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • D.Lou

      About coffee which anyone in the US will never get in mainstream news. Remember DDT, outlawed here in the US in the 1970's. Well, most countries we get our coffee from have no restrictions on this chemical and many others that most definately are not heatlhy for humans.
      If I buy coffee, which I do have some in my freezer right now, I buy organic coffee from a health food store.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
  48. JBJingles_Say it Ain't So!

    Noooooo, not magenta dye!! That is one of my 'good' colors. :(

    June 2, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
    • Bad Patient

      probably the one chosen by the breast cancer know...the pink one? are they really trying to get rid of it or make money from it? are they a front organization?

      June 7, 2011 at 10:12 pm |
  49. Kimchi

    It's a good thing no one told the Germans, English, Koreans, Chinese and Japanese this. Otherwise they'd all realize they should have been dead three times over by now.

    June 2, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
    • dsavio

      did you even read the article? it says that they Have found higher incidences of certain conditions in some of those populations

      June 20, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
      • Dr. Joe Blow, MD PhD RD LD DIC DPMO

        Meta-analysis of epidemiology research ... you might just as well use a dartboard blindfolded. I think that was his point.

        June 24, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
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