Cancer experts from the World Health Organization this week downgraded coffee from the possibly cancer-causing classification to the we-can’t-say-for-sure-this-is-cancer-causing category.
So, go on, have another cup. Coffee is now off the list of things that could possibly cause cancer, according to WHO’s report.
In the same report, they warned that drinking “very hot” beverages of any kind could potentially raise your risk of the disease.
In particular, it cited countries including China, Iran and those in South America, where teas such as the bitter herbal infusion mate are traditionally drunk at extremely high temperatures — above 65 or 70 degrees Celsius (150 or 160 Fahrenheit) — considerably hotter than drinks would normally be served in cafes across North America and Europe
Experts convened by WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, or IARC, concluded there was inadequate evidence to suggest that coffee might cause cancer, according to a letter published in the Lancet Oncology. The caffeinated drink was originally added to IARC’s list of possible carcinogens in 1991 based on a small number of studies that suggested a possible link to bladder cancer.
In its latest evaluation, the agency said that some studies showed coffee drinkers had a lower risk for cancers of the liver and womb. For more than 20 other cancers, the evidence was inconclusive.
“I’m not really sure why coffee was in a higher category in the first place,” said Owen Yang, an epidemiologist at Oxford University who has previously studied the possible link between coffee and cancer. He was not part of the IARC expert group. “The best evidence available suggests that coffee does not raise the cancer risk,” he said.
Drinking very hot beverages, however, just might.
Chicagoans told WBEZ they’re going to drink their coffee no matter what the experts say. Click play to hear it for yourself.
The Associated Press’ Maria Cheng contributed to this report.