California overturns ruling on coffee warnings: There is no link between coffee and cancer
11/28/2019 // Cassie B. // Views

If you’re like many people, your day doesn’t really start until you’ve had that first cup of coffee, and the prospect of missing it can be enough to make you panic. When California started requiring places serving coffee to display warnings about its tenuous link to cancer, it left a lot of java aficionados wondering whether they should give up their morning cup of joe to save their health or if it’s just another case of the very liberal state overreacting.

The answer now appears to be the latter as the state has overturned a previous ruling on coffee warnings that had consumers worried and coffee providers outraged. A court had ruled last March that all cafes have to warn clients that coffee contains carcinogens. Now, after extensive debate, the state’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment has finally put an end to the madness and scrapped the rule. They said that more than 1,000 studies have shown that there is no significant evidence linking coffee with cancer.

Although the process of heating coffee does create acrylamide, which has been identified by the state as a carcinogen since the ‘90s, there is no direct link between the chemical and cancer, and roasting coffee produces it at levels that are far too low to be considered risky in any case.

The warning was part of California’s Proposition 65, a state law that requires consumers be warned about every item that contains one of the chemicals appearing on a list of those known to cause birth defects or cancer, regardless of how casual the link is. The list contains well-known carcinogens such as lead, asbestos, and nicotine, along with some others whose dangers are less established.


The International Agency for Research on Cancer released a report after California instituted the warnings stating that not only does coffee not cause cancer, but it can even lower people’s risks of developing some types of cancer, such as uterine and liver cancer. They also called on the state to reconsider its court ruling at the time.

In fact, some experts have pointed out that toast and French fries contain more acrylamide than coffee, which means they, too, would deserve warnings if there was a serious danger.

What about the pesticides in coffee?

Acrylamide isn’t the biggest thing to worry about when it comes to coffee. Instead, that dubious honor goes to the pesticides used to grow coffee beans.

Coffee beans are one of the most highly chemically-treated crops you can find, subjected to a toxic brew of pesticides, fungicides, insecticides, and herbicides. While some studies show that the high temperatures used to roast coffee beans can eliminate many pesticide residues, some of it can still end up in the beans.

Brazil, one of the world’s biggest coffee exporters, is known for its liberal use of pesticides. In places like Jamaica, meanwhile, 78 percent of coffee farmers have experienced symptoms related to handling pesticides. This should be far more concerning than the acrylamide in coffee and is the reason many people seek organic coffee.

Coffee is beneficial to your health

As we mentioned earlier, coffee offers a long list of scientifically proven health benefits that go beyond merely helping you keep your eyes open when you wake up early. It has a high amount of antioxidants, and studies have shown that coffee drinkers have a significantly lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. People who drink coffee also have up to a 65 percent reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease and a significantly lower risk of Parkinson’s.

It can also fight depression, elevate mood, protect the liver, reduce stroke risk, and lower your chance of developing colorectal cancer, but be sure to choose organic.

Once again, California has acted in an extremely misguided way in scaring people away from coffee. Thankfully, science has prevailed on this occasion. One can only hope they’ll come to their senses when it comes to other important issues as well.

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