First off – don’t panic. 🙂 Keep drinking your coffee while you read this.
A judge in California has ruled that coffee companies have to display a warning that coffee poses a cancer risk, due to the presence of acrylamide, a chemical produced in the roasting process. It’s true, too…this is nasty stuff, discovered in 2002. Lab studies have shown an increased risk of cancer, though the levels used around 1,000 to 10,000 times higher than what people would be exposed to in food. It’s not just in coffee though…it’s found in potato chips, bread, cereals, french fries, cigarettes, even canned black olives. California has a law, though (Proposition 65) requiring consumers to be informed if the product they’re buying contains dangerous chemicals…hence this court ruling. So…sure, acrylamide can cause cancer at high levels…but so can a lot of other things we are exposed to.
On the flip side, coffee has been shown to have positive health benefits too, being linked to a reduced risk of death from heat disease, stroke, diabetes, neurological disease, etc. So…no need to panic, if you ask me. Just enjoy everything in moderation. 🙂
Read more about acrylamide at the American Cancer Society if you’re interested.