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Coffee can cause cancer and packets should contain scary cancer warnings, California Judge

decaffeinated tea and coffee

Can Coffee cause cancer? California judge believes so and has passed a judgment for coffee sellers to post scary cancer warnings on the packets similar to cigarette packs.

Previous studies have found no evidence of interrelation between coffee and cancer, in fact, some studies have found that cancer lowers the cancer risk by 14 percent in some.

“At the minimum, coffee is neutral. If anything, there is fairly good evidence of the benefit of coffee on cancer,” said Dr. Edward Giovannucci, a nutrition expert at the Harvard School of Public Health.

According to experts, normal coffee beans are good for health in daily use, but it is roasted coffee beans that contain a chemical named acrylamide famous for causing cancer.

Current judgment is based on a law passed by the government back in 1986 that makes it mandatory for sellers print cancer warning if their product contains acrylamide.

The effects of coffee consumption on cancer risk remain unclear, with reviews and meta-analyses showing either no relationship or a slightly lower risk of cancer onset. Studies suggest that coffee consumption of 2 cups per/day was associated with a 14% increased risk of developing lung cancer, but only among people who smoke

“A cup of coffee a day, exposure probably is not that high,” and probably should not change your habit, said Dr. Bruce Y. Lee of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “If you drink a lot of cups a day, this is one of the reasons you might consider cutting that down.”

Cigarette which is a prime source of cancer contains acrylamide and experts say that printing cancer warning on such products is appropriate, but printing warning on coffee packets can confuse public and put them in dilemma.

Acrylamide is considered a potential occupational carcinogen by U.S. government agencies and classified as a Group 2A carcinogen by the IARC. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health have set dermal occupational exposure limits at 0.03 mg/m3 over an eight-hour workday. In animal models, exposure to acrylamide causes tumors in the adrenal glands, thyroid, lungs, and testes. Acrylamide is easily absorbed by the skin and distributed throughout the organism; the highest levels of acrylamide post-exposure are found in the blood, non-exposed skin, kidneys, liver, testes, and spleen. Acrylamide can be metabolically-activated by cytochrome P450 to a genotoxic metabolite, glycidamide, which is considered to be a critical mode of action to the carcinogenesis of acrylamide. On the other hand, acrylamide and glycidamide can be detoxified via conjugation with glutathione to form acrylamide- and isomeric glycidamide-glutathione conjugates, subsequently metabolized to mercapturic acids and excreted in urine. Acrylamide has also been found to have neurotoxic effects in humans who have been exposed. Animal studies show neurotoxic effects as well as mutations in sperm.

As of 2014 it is still not clear whether dietary acrylamide consumption affects people’s risk of developing cancer. Experimental results that are based on feeding acrylamide to animals might not be applicable to humans. Food industry workers exposed to twice the average level of acrylamide do not exhibit higher cancer rates.

Acrylamide is also a skin irritant and may be a tumor initiator in the skin, potentially increasing risk for skin cancer. Symptoms of acrylamide exposure include dermatitis in the exposed area and peripheral neuropathy.

Laboratory research has found that some phytochemicals may have the potential to be developed into drugs which could alleviate the toxicity of acrylamide.

California Proposition 1986

Proposition 65 is administered by Cal/EPA’s California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA). Proposition 65 regulates substances officially listed by California as having a 1 in 100,000 chance of causing cancer over a 70-year period or birth defects or other reproductive harm in two ways. The first statutory requirement of Proposition 65 prohibits businesses from knowingly discharging listed substances into drinking water sources, or onto land where the substances can pass into drinking water sources. The second prohibits businesses from knowingly exposing individuals to listed substances without providing a clear and reasonable warning.

An official list of substances covered by Proposition 65 is maintained and made publicly available. Chemicals are added to or removed from the official list based on California’s analysis of current scientific information. All substances listed show their known risk factors, a unique CAS chemical classification number, the date they were listed, and, if so, whether they have been delisted.

Proposition 65 remains politically controversial even after 25 years, in large part because, in effect, it puts the burden of proof on business instead of government to make a key scientific determination about safety levels for specific toxic chemicals that the businesses are knowingly exposing members of the public to. According to the California Environmental Protection Agency, “Proposition 65 has… increased public awareness about the adverse effects of exposures to listed chemicals…. [and] provided an incentive for manufacturers to remove listed chemicals from their products…. Although Proposition 65 has benefited Californians, it has come at a cost for companies doing business in the state.” The law has also been criticized for the proliferation of “bounty hunter” lawsuits. Attorneys have collected more than two-thirds of the money paid by businesses to settle Proposition 65 lawsuits since 2000.

Proposition 65’s effectiveness also remains controversial, with some pointing out the lack of any studies suggesting a decrease in cancer rates in the state

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Dave Mustaine

Dave Mustaine

Dave, one of the associate writers at Science Examiner, has been taking care of all the space-related coverage. He loves to write about the latest happenings in space, and before joining Science Examiner, Dave was a part of the editorial board of a local magazine.

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