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Some Coffee Shops May Soon Post Cancer Warnings. Is There Good Science Here?


A number of coffee sellers in California have begun to settle a lawsuit, the final product of which will be warnings posted in coffee houses about a potential coffee-cancer link. Since roasted coffee beans contain acrylamide, a chemical that’s been linked to cancer, the reasoning goes, coffee may also pose a cancer risk. Some chains targeted in the lawsuit, which include Starbucks and 7-Eleven, have agreed to display a warning to this effect in their shops. But is this warning scientifically legit?

The Council for Education and Research on Toxins (CERT) filed the lawsuit back in 2010. The suit says that coffee houses must give customers a “clear and reasonable warning” about compounds that may have adverse effects on health. Acrylamide is on California’s list of harmful chemicals, as it is on most others.

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