Drinking coffee, tea and other beverages at temperatures hotter than 149 degrees Fahrenheit may lead to cancer of the esophagus, the World Health Organization reported Wednesday.
Beverages that are too hot can injure cells in the esophagus and lead to the formation of cancer cells, said Mariana Stern, an associate professor of preventative medicine and urology at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine.
But a cup of joe at the right temperature might not be so dangerous, and it could even be beneficial. Scientists said coffee at cooler temperatures is safe to drink and may decrease the risk of liver cancer by 15%, according to the research published in Lancet Oncology on Wednesday. Previously, the International Agency for Research on Cancer ruled coffee was a “possibly carcinogenic” in 1991.
“This gets the word out for more people to be aware that coffee is a healthy beverage and that it’s part of a healthy diet,” National Coffee Association President Bill Murray (right, not exactly as shown) said. “It’s an opportunity for people to drink a little more coffee and create more business.”
The research involved Stern and 22 other scientists from 10 countries, who examined about 1,000 studies on more than 20 types of cancer. They determined that drinking very hot beverages are “probably carcinogenetic,” with a higher risk of developing cancer of the esophagus.