The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) has sued the state of California for violating Proposition 65 by not including processed meat on the list of substances known to cause cancer. Proposition 65 requires the state to maintain and keep a list of chemicals known to cause cancer.

PCRM has over 25,000 members in California. Experts have reviewed over 800 studies to conclude that eating processed meat leads to an 18% higher risk for colorectal cancer, and increases the risk of other types of cancer, including breast, prostate, pancreatic and general cancer mortality.

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PCRM has been urging the group that is responsible for updating Proposition 65, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), since 2017 to include these products on the list. Now the group is filing a lawsuit.

Mark Kennedy, Esq., vice president of legal affairs for the Physicians Committee said of the lawsuit, “It’s a clear-cut case. California has been violating the law for nearly five years by failing to add processed meat to the Proposition 65 list. It’s time for the OEHHA to stop dragging its feet.”

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The Physicians Group notes that colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer-related death in the state and adding processed meat to Proposition 65 makes the risks clear to California residents. Anna Herby, RD, CDE said, “A hospital patient being treated for cancer shouldn’t be learning for the first time that hot dogs are a health hazard.”

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PCRM has also encouraged schools in California to cut out processed meat and is part of a group bringing plant-based diets to hospitals.

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