America has some strange laws, that’s undisputed. In the state of California, there’s a law that requires companies to declare any chemical on a product that could cause cancer.
Coffee contains a chemical called acrylamide which is on California’s list of ‘COULD CAUSE CANCER CHEMICALS’, and no, we hadn’t heard of it before either. Acrylamide has been on California’s ‘DANGEROUS CHEMICALS’ list since the early 1990s, but it wasn’t discovered in food until 2002 when a Swedish scientist located it in potato chips. It’s a fact that coffee has the chemical in it. Somehow during the coffee roasting process, the chemical is created. What this means is that currently in California, coffee products must be sold with a little warning, alerting customers that it may cause cancer.
Regardless, coffee contains so little of the chemical that the risk of getting cancer from drinking it is basically non-existent. Rice crackers, barley tea, olives, pears and even toast contain more of the chemical than coffee, and yet none are considered dangerous. When you buy pears in California there’s no label on it warning you about cancer.
A United Nations Food and Agriculture Report showed that although acrylamide can have toxic effects on the human body, the average human would have to multiply their daily intake of the chemical 500 times over to cause any nerve damage, and the risk of nerve damage is more likely than getting cancer.
A World Health Organisation report based on ten studies across Europe, Japan and the USA said that in terms of cancer, “there was no consistent evidence of an association with drinking coffee.” The report also suggested that the rare cases linking coffee with cancer likely come from inadequate control for tobacco smoking, which contains a lot of the harmful chemical.
“Overall coffee drinking was evaluated as unclassifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans,” the report said. In other words, that’s a medical authority saying there is no link between drinking coffee and getting cancer.
So drink away, guilt-free. Coffee isn’t going to kill you.