This Popular Drink Now Comes With a Cancer Warning in California

Photo Credits: Kaponia Aliaksei/ Shutterstock | Model Used for Illustrative Purpose Only

Over the last few years, we've heard many experts debate the coffee-cancer correlation—coffee beans have been shown to produce a potentially harmful chemical called acrylamide during the roasting process—and while many researchers say there is no solid scientific evidence to back up the association, a California judge says otherwise. 

This week, after an ongoing lawsuit in which the Council for Education and Research on Toxics sued Starbucks and 90 other companies for not abiding the state law regarding warnings on carcinogens, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle made his proposed ruling. As reported on by USA Today, Berle wrote: “Defendants failed to satisfy their burden of proving…that consumption of coffee confers a benefit to human health.” Therefore, he has determined these companies must include a cancer warning label on their covetable cups of joe

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Many experts agree with the coffee industry that the chemical is present, but only at minuscule amounts that are harmless to humans, and therefore it should be exempt from the law. There's also the argument that the benefits of coffee outweigh the risks, but Judge Berle said the companies in the lawsuit have failed to prove that.

An article posted by the American Cancer Society says the following about the purported link between coffee and cancer: "Coffee is brewed from beans that contain antioxidants, which are thought to have a protective effect against cancer. Researchers have conducted more than 1,000 studies looking at this question, with mixed results. Some early studies seemed to show that coffee might increase risk of some cancer types. Since then, however, larger and better designed studies have weakened those conclusions. And many of the newer studies link coffee drinking to a lowered risk of some types of cancer, including prostate cancer, liver cancer, endometrial cancer, and some cancers of the mouth and throat."

It's tough to believe any hardcore coffee drinker is going to give up their precious java after hearing this verdict, especially with the abundance of research that minimizes the threat and highlights health benefits, such as improved memory and weight loss (not to mention the much-needed energy boost). So, will this have any impact on the industry as a whole? I would say no based on my own personal experiences—even my husband's favorite mug says "No Talkie Before Coffee"—but of course only time will tell. 

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