Carcinogen Traces Found in Coffee
Could your daily cup from Starbucks expose you to carcinogens? Signs in coffee shops and restaurants warn that some products could contain trace amounts of a chemical compound called acrylamide.
According to the FDA, acrylamide is a chemical compound that forms naturally in a wide variety of foods when they are cooked to 120 degrees C, including coffee, chocolate, almonds, french fries, crackers, potato chips, cereal, bread and even some fruits and vegetables. The compound received international attention in 2002, when Swedish scientists found small amounts of it in some baked and fried foods. The compound has been shown to cause tumors when fed to laboratory animals in extremely high doses.
Acrylamide warnings can currently be found in California, where the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986â€”better known as Proposition 65â€”mandates all carcinogens must be listed even in trace amounts.
Attempts to reduce acrylamide levels in coffee have been largely unsuccessful, although recent work shows that the compound appears to degrade when roasted coffee is stored over time. Very little acrylamide is left in brewed coffee, leaving health officials satisfied for the time being.