Can coffee cause cancer?
Trouble is brewing for all coffee admirers in California, where a Los Angeles judge ruled that a cancer warning must be visible to all consumers. This stems from a 30-year-old law known as Proposition 65, which requires companies selling products that expose people to cancer risk to post warnings of such exposure. Unless proven harmless, any product containing a substance that appears on the California carcinogenic list, must post a warning notice. Amongst many other substances on this list, is one called Acrylamide.
During the roasting process, coffee beans release Acrylamide (also common in many other foods). In significant dosages, this can be toxic and even carcinogenic. Pump enough of any chemical into an animal or human, and you’ll eventually get to a point where that substance in dangerous. However, in coffee, it produces such a small amount that it shows no signs of danger, much like the amount in a piece of toast or potato chips.
because prop 65 exists solely to take the fun out of everything: bacon, parking structures, coffee, fueling stations, bakeries— Is it over yet? (@redinmyneck) October 12, 2016
It would make more sense for California to put up signs in every park and on every trail warning about the risks of sun exposure and skin cancer than to label coffee as a potential carcinogen.— Jennifer Gunter (@DrJenGunter) April 1, 2018
I’m on my second cup of coffee. Take that, cancer risk!— David Lazarus (@Davidlaz) April 3, 2018
Unfortunately, the LA judge considered evidence provided by coffee shop defendants not enough to prove that the chemical does not pose any health risks. Because of this, they must post the warning with potential of being fined up to $2,500 per person exposed each day during which they sell coffee without warning consumers.
Although this is a scary warning, the cup of joe is likely to win out. Coffee is more than just a beverage. It’s the taste, the ritual, the high, the energy, the benefits. So far, there is no evidence that the amount of acrylamide in coffee poses a threat. In fact, coffee has several other potential health benefits that have been proven time and time again.
- Lowers risk of Cirrhosis or Liver Cancer
- Lowers risk of Cardiovascular Disease
- Reduced risk of cancer overall
- May lower risk of Type 2 Diabetes
- May protect you from Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
It is likely that you may start to take your coffee with a warning, however, cream and sugar will always be optional.