What if your favorite caffeinated beverage came with a health warning? This is what some coffee lovers are now facing in California, and cancer may be at the root of the problem.
The state of California keeps a list of chemicals that it considers to be possible carcinogens, and acrylamide is on the docket (“Coffee may come with a cancer warning in California,” 2018). The chemical forms when coffee beans are roasted, leading some to believe that coffee itself now needs a warning when it’s sold across the state.
In 2010, the nonprofit Council for Education and Research on Toxics filed a lawsuit, specifically targeting companies that make or sell coffee (Think Starbucks). The suit claimed that the businesses “failed to provide clear and reasonable warning” that drinking coffee could result in exposure to the carcinogen.
But if it sounds unreasonable, the nonprofit had a point – the California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (also known as Proposition 65) states that companies must warn customers about the presence of chemicals that may affect their health. Now, nine of the defendants will comply with the request by adding warnings to their coffee, giving customers the head’s up.
Coffee: Is It Really That Bad?
Following the lawsuit, the head of the National Coffee Association vouched for the beverage.
“Coffee has been shown, over and over again, to be a healthy beverage,” Bill Murray said in a statement. “The US Government’s own Dietary Guidelines state that coffee can be part of a healthy lifestyle. This lawsuit simply confuses consumers, and has the potential to make a mockery of Prop 65 cancer warning at a time when the public needs clear and accurate information about health.”
But Murray isn’t the only one to vouch for the drink. Dozens of studies have indicated that coffee may actually come with its fair share of health benefits (“It’s official: Coffee is good for you, according to new research,” 2018).
“There’s over 19,000 studies done on coffee and health. And it’s very well-researched,” Andrew Salisbury, founder of Purity Organic Coffee, told the AJC. “There’s just a huge disconnect between what science knows about coffee and what the general public knows.”
But until the word gets out there, the battle between coffee lovers and naysayers will likely continue.
Christensen, Jen. “Coffee may come with a cancer warning in California.” Retrieved February 5, 2018, from https://www.cnn.com/2018/01/31/health/cancer-coffee-warning/index.html.
Lemon, Jason. “It’s official: Coffee is good for you, according to new research.” Retrieved February 5, 2018, from http://www.ajc.com/lifestyles/health-med-fit/official-coffee-good-for-you-according-new-research/kQVTkRPM4WoLRNWhvhXEcK/.