A billboard hoisted Wednesday on I-70, one mile west of Lindbergh Boulevard, warns travelers that hot dogs can kill you.
"It's to get the attention of people traveling to St. Louis to attend the All-Star Game on the fourteenth," explains Krista Haynes
, staff dietitian for The Cancer Project
, the Washington, D.C.-based organization that's footing the bill for the board. "We want to alert fans that processed meats have been linked to increased risks of certain cancers, specifically colorectal cancer
Haynes says The Cancer Project also sent a letter Wednesday to MLB Commissioner Bud Selig
, asking him to post warning signs next to all the hot-dog stands at Busch Stadium during the All-Star Game.
"We're hoping he'll be cooperative," says Haynes. "We hope he wants the best for his fans."
This is the first time The Cancer Project has funded such a billboard.
The organization went ahead with the PR campaign because two recent studies show the strongest link to date between hot dogs and cancer-causing carcinogens.
There was some presidential appeal
as well. "People might be coming to see [President Barack] Obama throw the first pitch," Haynes explains. "We felt this would be a landmark game with a captive audience."
Already The Cancer Project has received angry emails from St. Louisans who have seen the billboard.
Says Haynes: "We're not trying to be the food police and telling people we're going to take their hot dog away. We're just telling them, 'If you choose to eat these foods, there's a risk.'"