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Caffeine

California to Study Caffeine Danger to Pregnant Women

Wednesday, July 02, 2008 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: caffeine, health news, Natural News


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(NaturalNews) A California state advisory panel has recommended that the state conduct an investigation into whether caffeine poses a risk to the unborn children of pregnant women.

"If I were a pregnant woman or a woman thinking about being pregnant, I would want to know, should I be avoiding caffeine?" said Renee Sharp of the nonprofit Environmental Working Group. "It's a really important question, and I think people are looking for answers."

The recommendation from the Science Advisory Board Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant Identification Committee is nonbinding, but a spokesperson from the California the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment promised to "give it heavy weight because this is a panel of scientific experts."

If the state determines that caffeine poses a risk to unborn children, it would have to place warning labels on certain caffeine-containing beverages as a result. Under Proposition 65, a voter initiative that became law in 1986, any product sold in California that is known to cause cancer or birth defects must carry a warning label. However, the law applies only to added ingredients, not naturally occurring ones.

This distinction would mean that while caffeinated sodas might end up requiring a warning label, tea or coffee would not.

The panel's recommendation came as part of a larger two-year review of 283 chemicals that had been identified by state officials as potentially in need of a Proposition 65 warning. Eight chemicals, including caffeine and bisphenol A, were selected for closer consideration.

According to advisory board member Hillary Klonoff-Cohen, studies have linked caffeine consumption to miscarriages, premature birth and low birth weight. On the other hand, a variety of health groups including the College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the March of Dimes and the Mayo Clinic have said that consuming up to two cups of coffee or seven caffeinated soft drinks per day is safe for pregnant women.

This ambiguity is part of why the board concluded that further studies are needed.

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