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Carcinogens in Coffee Damage Sperm and Unborn Children

Friday, August 23, 2013By ALG

By Richard Alexander

COFFEEAcrylamide, a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer and reproductive harm, is in your coffee at levels that are unsafe.

This is real and it is serious.

We all are exposed to an outrageous array of chemicals that cause injuries and deaths because the U.S. government presumes all chemicals innocent until proven guilty. The Environmental Protection Agency has only outlawed less than a dozen chemicals since it was created in 1970.

You are fortunate if you live in California.

Proposition 65, the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, was adopted by an overwhelming majority of California voters in November 1986. This ballot initiative cannot be changed, unless a two-thirds majority of the California Assembly and California State Senate and the Governor agrees on the amendment. There have been no changes in the law. The list of chemicals that will give you cancer or deform your baby is regularly updated by California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.

Acrylamide has been on California’s Prop 65 warning list since 1990 as a known carcinogen.

Laboratory studies have shown kidney and ovarian cancers to be prevalent in animals exposed to acrylamide. The chemical has also been proven to cause reproductive harm. It damages the DNA of sperm, reduces sperm counts and slows the growth for offspring in the womb of lab animals.

Acrylamide was identified as a reproductive toxin in California in 2011.

Before 2002, workers exposed to acrylamide while using products such as grout, adhesives and paper pulp were the focus of medical research, led by public health epidemiologists at state cancer registries.

In 2002, Swedish scientists discovered that the general population is in danger of being injured by the acrylamide that is found in food and beverages.

Acrylamide is not added to foods.

Acrylamide occurs as a result of chemical reactions when certain foods are fried, baked, broiled and roasted.

Coffee is one of the biggest accumulators of this potentially life-threatening chemical due to the roasting process.

Kudos to my colleague in toxic litigation, attorney Raphael Metzger, representing the Council for Education on Toxins. CERT has launched a suit that names the biggest coffee retailers in the world for selling a product that without warning that it contains a carcinogen.

California’s Proposition 65 requires that California consumers must be warned when they are exposed to known carcinogens, yet big businesses have continued to sell their products to customers without fair warning.

Defendants named in the CERT lawsuit include Starbucks, Trader Joe’s, Dunkin Donuts, Whole Foods and Wal-Mart. CERT’s complaint explains that the amount of acrylamide in a 12 ounce cup of coffee has between four to 100 times the amount of acrylamide permitted under Proposition 65.

CERT is tackling a cancer-causing chemical that is impacting blockbuster numbers of people every day. Coffee is the second most valuable primary commodity exported to countries around the world and the big businesses named in the suit are trusted names by 130 million coffee drinkers in the United States alone.

Everyone deserves a fair warning before having their morning coffee.

An appropriate warning should advise the level allowed by California and the actual level of acrylamide found in the seller’s roasted coffee, as well as data on the maximum daily dose and the cumulative impact of this carcinogen.

Dark roast aficionados, beware. The darker the roast, the greater the acrylamide.

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