California is known for slapping a cancer warning on everything. Well, the next time you buy a cup of coffee while on vacation in California, you might see a cancer warning on or near your cup o’ Joe.
California has a list of chemicals that have a potential to cause cancer. A chemical that is produced when roasting coffee beans, acrylamide, is on that list.
In Los Angeles Superior Court, a lawsuit was first filed in 2010 by a nonprofit called Council For Education and Research On Toxics. The lawsuit targeted a number of businesses that sell or make coffee, including 7-Eleven, BP and Starbucks. According to the lawsuit, these businesses are guilty of not warning their customers of the presence of acrylamide in coffee.
The court documents claim that these business fail to follow Proposition 65—a 1986 law stating that businesses must make consumers aware of harmful substances in products.
The lawsuit is requesting businesses involved in the coffee business to provide warnings and explanations about acrylamide to customers. If this suit wins, stores will have to post details about acrylamide on walls and counters where people would be able to see them when buying coffee.
There is a whole debate surrounding how safe acrylamide really is. Some people claim that the health benefits of coffee outweigh any negative effects that it might have. Another pro-coffee argument is the fact that drinking any beverage that is too hot damages your mouth and throat. Much of the harm that people’s bodies are subjected to when drinking coffee may be because they are not waiting for it to cool down. People who are concerned about acrylamide say that studies on rodents have shown it to be carcinogenic.