About that California coffee cancer warning... Nevermind

You may have already heard about the judge in California who delivered an initial ruling saying that all coffee sold in the state would need to come with a warning about how it might cause cancer. That’s because coffee contains acrylamide, a substance created when coffee beans are roasted. It shows up on the list of potentially toxic chemicals which, if they are contained in food, must be so labeled according to one of California’s endless laundry list of propositions designed to ruin everyone’s fun. This is also why we can’t have nice things.

Well… nevermind. Now, according to a group of health experts, even if your cup of hot joe shows up with a cancer warning you are free to ignore it. (LA Times)

A California court ruling this week that a cancer warning label should be required on coffee has left the scientific community puzzled.

There is plenty of research showing that coffee doesn’t cause cancer, and can actually prevent liver and endometrial cancer. The World Health Organization announced two years ago that there was “no conclusive evidence for a carcinogenic effect of drinking coffee.”

The decision has put public health experts at odds with a state law aimed at safeguarding the health of Californians.

“I can understand the logic of the judge, by going by the book. But I can also understand the science,” said Mariana Carla Stern, a USC professor who studies diet and cancer. “From the science standpoint, there’s no reason the public should worry about drinking coffee.”

Gee, judge. Thanks for scaring the everloving pants off of everyone, but it seems that this question has been asked and answered multiple times. Medical schools have been able to induce cancer in lab animals by overdosing them on acrylamide, but none of them have any compelling evidence to show that it has the same effect on humans. And it actually has some health benefits to it, assuming you’re not completely crazy about it.

Also, as was pointed out in that CNN article I linked up at the top, this isn’t a substance which is unique to coffee beans. (Emphasis added)

In addition to coffee, acrylamide can be found in potatoes and baked goods like crackers, bread and cookies, breakfast cereal, canned black olives and prune juice, although its presence is not always labeled. It’s in some food packaging and is a component of tobacco smoke.

Sounds like acrylamide is in almost everything. Perhaps you’ll have to go on one of those water and carrot juice diets to avoid it. Of course, that won’t do any good because your cell phone is probably giving you cancer already anyway. Just drink your coffee and enjoy. Life is short enough to go without morning coffee and odds are that you’re probably going to be struck by lightening, hit by a meteor or a falling Chinese space station or accidentally wind up marrying a Kardashian anyway. You may as well at least enjoy that first cup in the morning before you head out.