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Home Home Wellness News Despite Cancer Warning, Experts Say Coffee Is Safe
Despite Cancer Warning, Experts Say Coffee Is Safe
Wellness - Latest Wellness News
Jupiter, FL Dentist

TUESDAY, April 3, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Science says you can get your coffee buzz without fear of cancer, so experts say you can forget that recent controversial California law.

Last Wednesday, a Los Angeles judge ruled that coffee shops such as Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts must caution customers that coffee contains acrylamide -- a potential cancer-causing chemical that forms as a byproduct of roasting.

Acrylamide is also found in fried foods such as french fries, and in cigarette smoke.

Finding on behalf of the plaintiff, the Council for Education and Research on Toxics, Judge Elihu Berle said that coffee companies failed to prove that the amount of acrylamide in coffee was safe -- or that coffee has health benefits.

But Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, said coffee lovers still have grounds to stick with the beverage.

The judge's decision may follow the law, Lichtenfeld said, but it stands in opposition to the science on the subject.

"To me, this whole issue is really much more legal than medical," he said.

In large quantities, acrylamide is a known cancer-causing chemical according to results from tests with rodents, Lichtenfeld explained. Based on these tests, acrylamide is also likely carcinogenic in humans when consumed in large amounts, he said.

However, the key issue is dosage.

"There is no good human evidence to show the amount of acrylamide in coffee causes harm to people," Lichtenfeld said.

In fact, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization (WHO), found "no conclusive evidence for a carcinogenic effect of drinking coffee," he noted.

And in 2016, coffee was actually removed from the WHO list of cancer-causing agents, Lichtenfeld added, "meaning it's safe for human consumption."

The 1986 California law behind the coffee-shop ruling says that businesses must warn consumers about chemicals that cause a significant cancer risk -- but "significant" is a very elastic term open to wide interpretation, according to Lichtenfeld.

"There is not enough evidence to suggest that acrylamide in coffee is something that would 'significantly' increase one's risk for cancer," he said.

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