World Health Organization Drops Coffee’s Status as Possible Carcinogen

World Health Organization Drops Coffee’s Status as Possible Carcinogen

Wall Street Journal, By JULIE JARGON and MIKE ESTERL
Updated June 15, 2016 9:59 a.m. ET

Coffee drinkers have gotten some good news.

Twenty-five years after classifying coffee as a possible carcinogen leading to bladder cancer, the World Health Organization’s cancer research arm has reversed course, saying on Wednesday that coffee is not classifiable as a carcinogen.

The organization also said that coffee has no carcinogenic effects on other cancers, including those of the pancreas and prostate, and has even been seen to reduce the risk of liver and uterine cancers.

 

The about-face by the WHO came after its International Agency for Research on Cancer reviewed more than 1,000 studies that showed coffee is not a cancer culprit.
Dr. Dana Loomis, the IARC official who was responsible for the evaluation, told a group of reporters on Wednesday that the body of scientific evidence on coffee had become much larger and stronger since 1991, when the IARC first classified coffee as a possible carcinogen. He said the positive associations between coffee and bladder cancer upon which the previous classification was based were confounded by, among other things, the fact that some cancer patients in those studies also smoked.

Dr. Loomis said it is not the first time the IARC has downgraded the cancer risk of a substance “but it happens seldom.”



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