California May Ditch Coffee Carcinogen Warnings

The state Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment recently said coffee wasn’t a significant cancer risk.

August 20, 2018

SACRAMENTO – California currently requires labels warning consumers that coffee contains a known carcinogen, but this might change now that the state Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) recently stated the brew doesn’t constitute a significant cancer risk, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Late last week, the OEHHA proposed changing the state’s regulations to reflect its recent coffee risk statement. The change would reverse a judge’s decision in March that mandated warning labels for coffee because it contains acrylamide, which is listed under Proposition 65 as a carcinogen by the state. Proposition 65 names more than 850 chemicals as possibly harmful, and requires that businesses with 10 or more workers post warnings when they might be exposed to the listed substances.

The new OEHHA decision only applies to coffee, according to Sam Delson, the agency’s spokesman. “Coffee is an extremely well-studied mixture of many chemicals,” he said. “It’s the first time we’ve ruled on a complex mixture.”

The OEHHA’s ruling comes after the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer couldn’t definitively conclude whether coffee is carcinogenic. However, the American Institute for Cancer Research has found that drinking coffee could lower the risk for liver and endometrial cancer.