A consumer rights group has just sued California, asking it to force businesses, by way of law, to display warnings about the cancer-causing effects of coffee consumption.
More than a dozen businesses, including 7-Eleven, had settled with the California nonprofit an 8-year-old lawsuit and pledged to add the warnings to their caffeine-based products.
The new lawsuit seeks to urge those companies to specify on the warnings that coffee contains a “chemical that causes cancer”. Also, the signs should be at least 10-inch-wide and 10 inches-high, so that every customer can see them.
The Council for Education and Research on Toxics (CERT), which settled with the companies on the warnings, is looking to underline the dangers of acrylamide found in coffee. Numerous studies have shown that acrylamide boosts the risk of cancer.
The agency’s chances of winning the lawsuit are high due to a state law called Proposition 65 which urges companies to let their customers know whether the products they sell may include ingredients that can be harmful to health, like acrylamide.
Experts explained that acrylamide is a byproduct when coffee beans are roasted. So far, researchers have not been able to develop a method to keep the cancerous ingredient at bay.
Researchers Split on Coffee’s Health Risks
Still, Ronald Melnick, a toxicology expert who worked for the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, said in a testimony that there are methods to reduce the amount of the harmful chemical in the dark beverage, like pre-roasting processes and careful plant selection.
CERT now seeks ways of reducing the toxin since it would be better for the industry and customers to remove the chemical from the dark beverage altogether instead of displaying cancer risk warnings.
It is worth noting that experts at the World Health Organization (WHO) and National Toxicology Program have not labeled coffee as cancer-causing. The only WHO study that found a link between coffee and cancer states that drinking hot coffee “probably” leads to esophageal cancer.
Image Source: Flickr
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