Americans drink a lot of coffee: With one estimate saying the average coffee consumer slugs back about three cups per day. The good news is that, in general, science says all that joe is good for us. Recent studies have shown that coffee can cut mortality rates(multiple studies actually), reduce the risk of Multiple Sclerosis and benefit your liver. But no beverage is perfect (even too much water can kill you), and coffee producers openly admit that roasted beans contain acrylamide—a naturally occurring chemical that is also designated by the World Health Organization as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” Global efforts have been underway to raise awareness about acrylamide—earlier this year, the UK even launched a campaign warning people not to burn their toast as darker toasting unleashes higher acrylamide levels. And now, if an advocacy group in California has its way, acrylamide warnings will be required to be printed on coffee products throughout the state.
Originally filed by the Council for Education and Research on Toxics back in 2010, according to the Associated Press, the lawsuit claims that about 90 companies—from coffee giant Starbucks to smaller coffee-selling retailers – failed to follow a California law that requires warning signs when people face exposure to hazardous chemicals. The case has once again gained attention as lawyers for the coffee industry have begun providing their final defense against the lawsuit, claiming that acrylamide shouldn’t require a warning because of an exemption in the California law for chemicals that occur naturally from necessary cooking.