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California Considers Canceling Mandatory Cancer Warning For Coffee

Surprise! California is getting rid of a labeling requirement.

|||Anthony Devlin/ZUMA Press/NewscomAnthony Devlin/ZUMA Press/NewscomCalifornia officials are wondering if the decision to force coffee shops to post cancer warnings went a bit too far.

California's Proposition 65 requires that all businesses use explicit warning labels on their products if there is a cancer-causing agent present. A March ruling by a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge extended that requirement to coffee shops, including major chains like Starbucks, because the drinks they serve contain acrylamide.

Acrylamide, a byproduct of roasting coffee beans, was included on California's list of carcinogens after a study found lab rats that consumed the chemical in high doses were much more likely to develop cancer. A human coffee drinker would need to consume 35,000 cups of regular coffee every day to face the same risk.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) determined that coffee did not pose a significant risk to consumers and is seeking to reverse the labeling requirement. OEHHA announced a Thursday hearing to propose an update to the regulations that would clarify "exposures to Proposition 65 listed chemicals in coffee that are produced as part of and inherent in the processes of roasting coffee beans and brewing coffee pose no significant risk of cancer."

Other groups also have found no connection between coffee and cancer in human beings. In February, for example, the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) said that while "acrylamide increases risk for lab animals, no links have been established between acrylamide in food and cancer risk for humans as research is inconclusive." AICR added that the topic of whether or not coffee is linked to cancer "is a well-studied one."

Bonus links: Coffee beans are not the only part of one's morning routine that has faced scrutiny from regulators. Coffee additives and accessories such as sweeteners, plant-based milk, and straws (for the cold brew fans) have all been controversial at some point.

Photo Credit: Anthony Devlin/ZUMA Press/Newscom

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  • loveconstitution1789||

    California officials are wondering if the decision to force coffee shops to post cancer warnings went a bit too far.

    Maybe California will scale back straw bans too.

    Haha. Yeah right.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Acrylamide, a byproduct of roasting coffee beans, was included following a study showing that lab rats who consumed the chemical in high doses were much more likely to develop cancer.
    [...]
    The L.A. Times reports that the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) determined that coffee did not pose a significant risk to consumers and is seeking to reverse the labeling requirement.

    That's going to have ramifications for thousands of chemicals that require labeling. Did a coffee lobbyist get to the legislature on this?

  • NoVaNick||

    That's going to have ramifications for thousands of chemicals that require labeling.

    Its all about aesthetics: If the progs like a certain product(coffee, pot, wine), the chemical can't be bad for you. If they deem the product that contains it icky (tobacco, soda, McDonalds), then it is, no matter the dose.

  • Fats of Fury||

    Yeah, but try to use coffee as rat poison and Peta will be all over your ass.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Ugh. Don't even try to talk to me before I've had my morning lab rat.

  • Bee Tagger||

    Carnac the Magnificent: "labrat"
    Ed McMahon: "what does emmanuel macron's mother call him when he's being petulant?"

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    It took me a while to get that. Well done.

  • Agammamon||

    You mean his wife?

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    I always suspected that the V home world was somewhere in Pennsylvania.

  • NoVaNick||

    The right-thinking kind of people drink coffee, and red wine too. So the state of California does not want to insult their intelligence. Warnings are for the peasants who don't know any better and drink soda.

  • SQRLSY One||

    Holy Shiites!!!! I have been drinking "35,000 cups of regular coffee every single day", and now I may have to consider dropping my bad habit!!!!

  • ||

    Probably should cut out the glass of acrylamide neat to take the edge off before bed too.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Finally, a believable comment on H&R.

  • ||

    I had a very hard time getting a true espresso in California on a recent trip there.

    I'm going to make myself one right now in honour of this stupid story.

  • Jerryskids||

    The L.A. Times reports that the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) determined that coffee did not pose a significant risk to consumers and is seeking to reverse the labeling requirement.

    I can smell a lawsuit from here. The law is that if it contains a cancer-causing agent, it must be labeled. Nobody said anything about "significant risk". Nobody's promulgated procedures for assessing and issuing findings of "significant risk" - the OEHHA is just pulling this out its ass. Due process cuts both ways, assholes, now eat your spinach.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Exactly. This is bizarre. California is chock-a-block with label requirements for chemicals that are probably even smaller cancer risks than Coffee, but the labels are required by law. That's why I'm wondering if they're going to review the entire body of chemical labeling, or we just think labeling coffee is making a favored constituency twitchy.

  • ||

    California is chock-a-block with label requirements for chemicals that are probably even smaller cancer risks than Coffee,

    Round-up, for example.

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    Who would have standing to sue? Any citizen because it was a ballot measure or just people who can show they may have developed cancer from an excessive coffee habit?

  • Longtobefree||

    All owners of lab rats

  • ||

    "Who would have standing to sue?"

    Jackie and Kramer?

  • Longtobefree||

    I propose that California propositions cause cancer. So now they all have to carry cancer warnings.
    I will actually do the research and publish within ten years of receiving a grant from California of 20 million a year, and an electric car.

  • perlchpr||

    I think letting coffee shops off the hook is a move in the wrong direction for CA. Everything in CA, including CA itself, needs to be labelled as carcinogenic.

    Maybe they could just put it on the welcome signs at the border. "Welcome to California. Warning, California May Cause Cancer."

  • Rockabilly||

    Fucking communists fuck up everything...

  • DrZ||

    "Acrylamide, a byproduct of roasting coffee beans, was included on California's list of carcinogens after a study found lab rats that consumed the chemical in high doses were much more likely to develop cancer. A human coffee drinker would need to consume 35,000 cups of regular coffee every day to face the same risk."

    Wow! Now that is good reason to cut back my daily Joe. No more than 20,000 cups per day for me.

  • TJJ2000||

    35,000 cups per day to even be considered a, "slight increase" of cancer risk %.

    The real damage in political safety run amuck is the loss of ALL respect for safety measures. With 99% of warning labels being a blatant joke; how in the world will society really "know" when the label is a real concern or just a bad joke. I guess that just gives the nanny nazis more of reason to ban and control things that have real concern since no one pays 2-cents of respect to modern day warning labels and for good reason.

  • Jimbo||

    Ah, fuckit!
    I only drank coffee because I thought it was dangerous...

  • Naaman Brown||

    "A human coffee drinker would need to consume 35,000 cups of regular coffee every day to face the same risk."

    A typical coffee cup holds 6 ounces. A cup measure is 8 ounces. So 35,000 cups a day could mean a range of 210,000 fluid ounces to 280,000 fluid ounces, or 13,125 to 17,500 pints (pounds). This is not a trivial difference (cup as 6 vs 8 fluid ounces) in determining the individual's risk of exposure to carcinogenic acrylamide.

    That is a range of 6.5625 to 8.75 tons* of liquid coffee per individual per day. For example, a health aware person could be cutting their daily coffee consumption off at 32,000 eight ounce cups (8 tons) and be in excess if the actual safe limit is 35,000 six ounce cups (6.5625 tons).

    There is an additional risk. Since a cup of coffee also contains dihydromonoxide, and excessive consumption of that vile substrance dilutes the sodium chloride levels of the blood leading to hyponatremia, a very serious and often fatal condition, the imprecision in specifying "cup" can also lead people to exceed their maximum daily safe risk level of that substance (and most cancerous cells also contain dihydromonoxide).

    Such imprecision in unit of measure is irresponsible reporting with the risk of serious health consequences.

    ________________________
    * (North American "ton" of 2000 pounds)

  • NashTiger||

    The Dose is the Poison

    Not that you will ever get responsible reporting on that

  • VinniUSMC||

    It is known: Everything in California causes cancer.

  • PaulTheBeav||

    Irrational fear causes cancer.

  • Anomalous||

    From my cold, shaky hands!

  • Rock Lobster||

    WARNING: The dates JUNE 22-JULY 22 contain chemicals known to the State of California to cause Cancer and birth defects or other astrological harm.

  • Longtobefree||

    So can we get cyclamate back and have good tasting diet soda again?
    Oh, wait. Soda.
    Never mind.

  • Dharmesh||

    great articles for our health, thanks
    how to check jio balance

  • Longtobefree||

    WARNING: This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.
    To the rest of the world, this product is safe, and effective in curing 'morning allergy' by providing a pleasant little lift.

    I cannot find anything in the prop 65 wording that would prevent adding the true tag line to the mandatory warning.

    A few tidbits from our friend Wiki -
    Proposition 65 has also been criticized because the majority of settlement money collected from businesses has been used to pay plaintiffs' attorney fees.[33] Businesses paid over $14.58 million in attorney fees and costs in 2012, 71% of all settlement money paid.[34]
    There is no penalty for posting an unnecessary warning sign.[26] Because of the overuse of the vague warning, the ubiquitous signs ultimately communicate very little information to the end user.[16][27]
    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.

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