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Health Agencies Update
February 17, 1999

Sobering News About Booze

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JAMA. 1999;281(7):600. doi:10.1001/jama.281.7.600-JHA90000-4-1

For lovers of grape and grain who have basked in findings about health benefits associated with mild to moderate alcohol consumption, now comes news possessing all the appeal of flat champagne: A federal advisory panel has recommended that alcohol be designated a "known human carcinogen" in the upcoming ninth edition of the federal government's official list of such known or suspected agents, the Report on Carcinogens.

The panel, which reviewed epidemiological studies as well as animal research and in vitro studies with human cells, emphasized that the evidence that alcohol consumption causes cancer is most clearly established in heavy drinkers and drinkers who smoke. Studies have shown that the risk of cancer of the mouth, esophagus, pharynx, or larynx is greatest among the latter group.

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