Coffee is the lifeblood of our generation. It wakes us up in the morning, gets us past the 2 pm crash, and is the focal point of some of our social lives. According to a California judge, it now causes cancer too, despite doctors suggesting otherwise.
NBC reports that the judge ruled in favor of The Council for Education and Research on Toxics in a major lawsuit regarding California’s Prop 65 and coffee. Under Prop 65, warning labels must be posted at establishments whose products contain potential cancer-causing compounds. In the case of coffee chains like Starbucks, that involves their bread and butter (aka the coffee), which contains a carcinogen called acrylamide.
Many coffee shops in California haven’t posted signs regarding their coffee based on the argument that coffee actually fights cancer and that acrylamide is present in low amounts. The judge, however, found that they couldn’t prove that coffee provides a benefit to human health, meaning that places like Starbucks could now be subject to fines for not having the signs up in the first place. That will be decided in a later phase of the trial.
Still, given recent scientific and medical findings around the cancer-causing potential around coffee, this ruling seemed a little bizarre. The World Health Organization (WHO) just took coffee off of their “possible carcinogen” list, and the American Institute for Cancer Research views coffee as a cancer-fighting food. This is partially due to the presence of antioxidants in coffee that, if you drank 4-6 cups of plain brew per day, could lower the risk of some cancers.
Sure, coffee has something that can cause cancer, but it’s also got compounds that fight it. That doesn’t mean they necessarily cancel each other out, but it does mean that if someone tells you coffee is dangerous, you can tell them otherwise.