Coffee Causes Cancer?


Could coffee cause cancer? Recently, coffee received a labeling of 2B carcinogen from the World Health Organization. To understand what level of carcinogen a 2B is, consider that group 1 carcinogens are known cancer-causing substances like UV radiation and smoking. Group 2A carcinogens include emissions from wood and other burned bio-fuels.

Coffee and cell phones share a 2B designation, as do pickled vegetables. This means that researchers are still somewhat in doubt as to its ability to cause cancer. Studies have indicated that coffee could be a cause of bladder cancer. However, research has suggested that it’s also linked to lower instances of prostate and colon cancer.

One chemical in coffee is particularly suspicious: acrylamide. According to a joint UN study undertaken in 17 countries by the WHO and the Food and Agriculture Organization, coffee drinkers get 13% to 39% of their daily acrylamide from the popular drink. It’s not yet known how much acrylamide is safe to consume – what is certain is that in very large quantities, this chemical causes cancer.

Acrylamide is produced when foods are fried or roasted. Sticking to fresh, steamed or boiled food lowers acrylamide levels in the body, while consuming fried or roasted food raises them. French fries and chips are very high in acrylamide, and because coffee is roasted, it also contains high levels of the chemical.

How much acrylamide is in a cup of coffee? It depends how strong it’s been brewed, and how the beans have been roasted. It’s not important whether the coffee is instant or ground, because what matters is the roasting. On average, one cup of coffee contains 290 mcg per kilogram. Surprisingly, there’s more acrylamide in medium-roast coffee than in dark roast, and half-roast contains the least amount.

Coffee is very acidic, which is another possible reason it could cause cancer. Alkaline diets – those high in fruits, whole grains, and vegetables – are often said to help fight cancer, while acidic diets – featuring meat, cheese, alcohol and coffee – may feed cancer. This theory comes from research that indicates cancer thrives in an acidic environment and dies in an alkaline one.

Also, coffee may not be the culprit – the cup may actually be at fault. Low levels of a chemical called styrene can leach out of Styrofoam coffee cups and be consumed by the coffee drinker. Styrene is a synthetic chemical present in rubber and plastic, among other products, and can cause off-gassing. The WHO recently said styrene was “reasonably anticipated” to be carcinogenic.


This information is solely for informational and educational purposes only. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, family planning, child psychology, marriage counseling and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care or mental health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of or the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, application of medication or any other action involving the care of yourself or any family members which results from reading this site. It is always best to speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Additional information contained in our Legal Statement

What does your weekly dinner look like?
The whole family dines together at home
The whole family dines together at a restaurant
Parents and children eat separately
Whoever is around eats together
Every family member for themselves!
Total votes: 5755