A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF LIBERALS WANTING TO TAKE CARE OF THEIR OWN, “FROM CRADLE TO GRAVE”……….Papa Mike
But the case rests on the presence of trace amounts of a chemical and ignores the strongest evidence on coffee drinking.
In the coming months a judge in California will decide whether coffee should be listed as a possible carcinogen throughout the state. The court decision is the result of a 2010 lawsuit brought by an NGO, the Council for Education and Research on Toxics, against the biggest coffee sellers charging that the presence of trace amounts of a chemical pose a threat to the health of coffee drinkers.
The chemical in question is acrylamide, which is formed when coffee beans are roasted. Under California’s Proposition 65, businesses must notify the public if a product contains any of the 65 chemicals that have been linked to adverse health effects, including cancer and reproductive abnormalities.
Coffee is only the latest example of a trend that has become all too common. Activists who profess concern for human health and the environment latch on to an isolated finding – in this case the presence of trace amounts of a contaminant in coffee – and proceed to mount a well-orchestrated campaign to protect the public from the theoretical threat. In the process they use the issue to raise their profile and solicit funds. Similar campaigns have involved the herbicide glyphosate and genetically-engineered crops, BPA, and other substances.
The distinguishing feature of these campaigns is that they isolate a factoid from its scientific context and use it to instill fear in the public and to give bureaucratic regulators a new threat to regulate.
In the case of coffee, what is most egregious and problematic is that, while focusing on trace amounts of acrylamide in coffee and on the results of animal studies, the campaign ignores an abundance of solid evidence that has accumulated over decades concerning the health effects of coffee-drinking in humans. Even many commentators on this wrong-headed campaign fail to appreciate the weight of the epidemiologic evidence exculpating coffee.