WHO: Very hot drinks may cause cancer

Very hot drinks probably cause cancer, an agency of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) said very hot drinks (65C and over) probably cause cancer of the oesophagus. But it ruled there was “no conclusive evidence” that coffee itself causes cancer.

Dr Christopher Wild, director of IARC, said: “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, that appears to be responsible.”

In 1991, IARC said that coffee is linked to bladder cancer.

In its new evaluation of more than 500 studies, it found that coffee drinking had no carcinogenic effects for cancers of the pancreas, female breast, and prostate.

Reduced risks were seen for cancers of the liver and womb. For more than 20 other cancers, the evidence was inadequate to enable a conclusion to be made.

It said: “The evidence that drinking coffee might cause bladder cancer, which was limited in the previous evaluation, has become weaker, and it is no longer possible to determine whether drinking coffee causes bladder cancer.”


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