Can cof­fee cause can­cer? Only if it’s very hot, says WHO agency

Pakistan Observer - - KARACHI CITY -

There is no con­clu­sive ev­i­dence that drink­ing cof­fee causes can­cer, the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion’s can­cer agency said on Wed­nes­day in a re­verse of its pre­vi­ous warn­ing, but it also said all “very hot” drinks are prob­a­bly car­cino­genic.

The In­ter­na­tional Agency for Re­search on Can­cer (IARC) had pre­vi­ously rated cof­fee as “pos­si­bly car­cino­genic” but has changed its mind.

It now says its lat­est re­view found “no con­clu­sive ev­i­dence for a car­cino­genic ef­fect” of cof­fee drink­ing and pointed to some stud­ies show­ing cof­fee may ac­tu­ally re­duce the risk of de­vel­op­ing cer­tain types of can­cer. “(This) does not show that cof­fee is cer­tainly safe ... but there is less rea­son for con­cern to­day than there was be­fore,” Dana Loomis, the deputy head of IARC’s Mono­graph clas­si­fi­ca­tion depart­ment told a news con­fer­ence.

At the same time, how­ever, IARC pre­sented other sci­en­tific ev­i­dence which sug­gests that drink­ing any­thing very hot around 65 de­grees Cel­sius or above - in­clud­ing water, cof­fee, tea and other bev­er­ages, prob­a­bly does cause can­cer of the oe­soph­a­gus.

Lyon-based IARC, which last year prompted head­lines world­wide by say­ing pro­cessed meat can cause can­cer, reached its con­clu­sions af­ter re­view­ing more than 1,000 sci­en­tific stud­ies in hu­mans and an­i­mals. There was in­ad­e­quate ev­i­dence for cof­fee to be clas­si­fied as ei­ther car­cino­genic or not car­cino­genic.

IARC had pre­vi­ously put cof­fee as a “pos­si­ble car­cino­gen” in its 2B cat­e­gory along­side chlo­ro­form, lead and many other sub­stances. The U.S. Na­tional Cof­fee As­so­ci­a­tion wel­comed the change in IARC’s clas­si­fi­ca­tion as “great news for cof­fee drinkers”.

The In­sti­tute for Sci­en­tific In­for­ma­tion on Cof­fee, whose mem­bers are six of the ma­jor Euro­pean cof­fee com­pa­nies - il­ly­caffè, Ja­cobs Douwe Eg­berts, Lavazza, Nestlé (NESN.S), Paulig, and Tchibo - said IARC had found “no neg­a­tive re­la­tion­ship be­tween cof­fee con­sump­tion and can­cer”. In its eval­u­a­tion of very hot drinks, IARC said an­i­mal stud­ies sug­gest car­cino­genic ef­fects prob­a­bly oc­cur with drink­ing tem­per­a­tures of 65 Cel­sius or above. Some ex­per­i­ments with rats and mice found “very hot” liq­uids, in­clud­ing water, could pro­mote the de­vel­op­ment of tu­mours, it said.

The agency said stud­ies of hot drinks such as maté, an in­fu­sion con­sumed mainly in South Amer­ica, tea and other drinks in sev­eral coun­tries in­clud­ing China, Iran, Ja­pan and Turkey, found the risk of oe­sophageal can­cer “may in­crease with the tem­per­a­ture of the drink” above 65 Cel­sius. “These re­sults sug­gest that drink­ing very hot bev­er­ages is one prob­a­ble cause of oe­sophageal can­cer and that it is the tem­per­a­ture, rather than the drinks them­selves.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.