The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) today proposed a new regulation clarifying that cancer warnings are not required for coffee under Proposition 65, the state’s toxics right-to-know law.
The proposed regulation states that drinking coffee does not pose a significant cancer risk, despite the presence of chemicals created during the roasting and brewing process that are listed under Proposition 65 as known carcinogens.
The proposed regulation is based on extensive scientific evidence that drinking coffee has not been shown to increase the risk of cancer and may reduce the risk of some types of cancer.
In a review of more than 1,000 studies published this week, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) concluded that there is “inadequate evidence” that drinking coffee causes cancer. IARC found that coffee is associated with reduced risk for cancers of the liver and uterus, and does not cause cancers of the breast, pancreas and prostate. IARC also found that coffee drinking exhibits strong antioxidant effects related to reduced cancer risk.
Coffee is a complex mixture of numerous chemicals that includes both known carcinogens – such as acrylamide, formed during the roasting of coffee beans and brewing coffee – and chemicals that protect against cancer, including antioxidants.
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