If a 2010 lawsuit filed in California succeeds, coffee sold in the state will be required to carry a warning saying it may increase cancer risk, according to a report on Live Science. The basis for this assertion? Coffee contains low levels of a chemical called acrylamide, which is classified as a possible carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
Acrylamide, which is used in industry to produce paper, dyes, and plastics, is also present in cigarette smoke. It forms in foods like coffee beans, French fries, potato chips, canned black olives, and breakfast cereals when they are heated to high temperatures during manufacturing. Although studies show acrylamide causes cancer in laboratory rodents, evidence that it raises cancer risk in humans is unclear.
Coffee itself is not identified as a cancer-causing substance and, in fact, studies show drinking coffee can lower the risk for certain types of cancer and provide other health benefits.