Everything Causes Cancer, But I Couldn’t Care Less

Hilary Lee

According to the Sept. 5 Huffington Post article “Bubble Tea Tapioca Pearls May Contain Cancer-Causing Chemicals, German Study Claims,” the folks at the University Hospital Aachen have found that boba may contain the carcinogen PCB. As an addict who gets antsy without boba for more than 48 hours (I’m giving myself too much credit — the number hovers closer to 4.8), this should worry me. But it doesn’t.

We live in an age in which everything appears to be cause for alarm. Talking on cell phones for too long may increase your risk of brain cancer. French fries, potato chips, cereal and coffee contain the cancer-inducing chemical acrylamide. Plastic shower curtains are hotbeds for chemicals correlated with liver and nervous system damage as well as — you guessed it — cancer.

And the list doesn’t end there. New car interiors. Plane rides. Hair dye. Anti-perspirant. You can’t even sit at home in peace. Apparently, the radioactive gas radon is produced from the natural decay of uranium in soil, which sneaks its way through cracks in your house and can cause lung cancer. Researchers seem to be nodding in fervent agreement with Hobbes’ pessimistic assertion that life is “nasty, brutish and short.”

Yet, I really don’t care. It’s mentally taxing to keep tabs on everything that is supposedly killing you. By nature, people find comfort in dismissing challenges to the familiar. And maybe I’m choosing to be ignorant. But if I were to listen to everything the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and every other researcher out there said, the only “safe” way to live would be to become a paranoid recluse like Leonardo DiCaprio’s character at the end of “The Aviator.” I have enough neurotic tendencies as it is. The bottom line is, I don’t smoke; I am nowhere near obese; I put on a decent amount of sunscreen before exiting the house every day. Tackling the obvious should be enough for any normal human being.

The public doesn’t need to be ferried along with every “breakthrough discovery” that comes out. I would not even pause mid-chew if an article popped up tomorrow about a possible correlation between hand-to-face size ratio and your chances of contracting cancer. Obsessing over speculative causes of cancer is useless (and has been reported by one study to increase your risk of cancer too, incidentally).

In short — science can suck it. I will still be getting my regular fix of almond boba milk tea, regardless of what the German scientists say.