Brain and Body

No, Coffee Doesn’t Cause Cancer... Unless It’s Piping Hot

June 15, 2016 | Gillian Burrell

Steaming cup of hot coffee
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The WHO reclassifies the carcinogenic effects of coffee, maté, and hot beverages

A group of 23 scientists picked by the WHO’s cancer agency has released the results of their investigation into coffee, maté, and very hot beverages, concluding that coffee and maté are off the hook... but only at certain temperatures.

As published in The Lancet Oncology, researchers with the International Agency for Research on Cancer have officially downgraded coffee and maté to Group 3, meaning there’s no reason to think that they cause cancer in humans.

Back in 1991, based on the data that was available, the IARC classified coffee in Group 2B, calling it a possible carcinogen. Now, following a thorough review of more than 1,000 studies in humans and animals, the agency says there’s no adequate evidence linking coffee to the deadly disease.

But if you like your morning cuppa scalding hot, it’s a different story.

SEE ALSO: Bacon and Hot Dogs Could Cause Cancer, WHO Warns

Beverages hotter than 65°C (149°F) are now classified as a Group 2A carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, meaning they are “probably carcinogenic.”

The findings were based on evidence in humans and animals that demonstrated a link between the temperature of a beverage and the risk of developing cancer of the esophagus, the 8th most common form of cancer worldwide.

Keep in mind that the results are based on a limited body of evidence so the link between temperature and cancer is not conclusive. The IARC’s classification system also doesn’t indicate how much of a risk is posed by hot beverages or how frequently you can get away with drinking them.

You might also like: Your Morning Cup of Coffee May Soon Be Hard to Come By

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