Since 1991, coffee has been saddled with the label, “possibly causes cancer.” As of June 15, coffee got a clean bill of health.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer – or IARC – is the WHO agency that evaluates evidence and scientific research on cancer. In 1991 the agency classified coffee as a category 2B carcinogen, which, in effect, labeled it as “possibly causing cancer” in the human bladder.
Twenty-five years later, another IARC group of scientific experts met to assess the body of published scientific literature on whether coffee can cause cancer. This working group, including 23 experts drawn from around the world, and seven observers, met May 24-31, 2016 to evaluate the carcinogenic effects of “coffee, mate, and very hot beverages.”
This time, based on the available scientific literature, the expert group decided that the weight of evidence supported a downgrading in the classification. As of June 15, 2016, coffee is now considered in Group 3, or “not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans.” For coffee lovers, this is reassuring news.