Q: My daughter saw something on television regarding hot dogs and leukemia. My kids live on hot dogs. Is there any truth to it?
S.H., Fort Worth, Texas
A: Concerns were raised by reports in the March 1994 issue of Cancer Causes and Control, edited by the Harvard School of Public Health. The publication reported on three studies of hot dogs and childhood cancers.
A study of 440 children in the Denver area suggested a higher incidence of brain tumors and leukemia among children who ate hot dogs once a week or whose mothers did during pregnancy.
Another study of 310 children suggested a link between women who ate hot dogs and cured meats while pregnant and brain tumors in their children.
The third, a look at 232 children with leukemia in the Los Angeles area, found that their only persistent association was hot dogs eaten by the children, or by the father before the child's conception.
Medical researchers characterize the findings as extremely preliminary, indicating a need for further study rather than a cause for alarm. The American Meat Institute has disputed the research.