A judicial decision in California about coffee has been widely covered, and you likely know that punchline already. A rather obscure non-profit organization sued coffee sellers for their failure to report the probable presence of acrylamide, a potential carcinogen, in their product-disclosure required under a California law called Proposition 65. The judge sided with the plaintiff, and so unless that decision is overturned, coffee consumption in California will be clouded over by warnings of cancer risk.
Fortuitously, a review of the health effects of coffee was published in the widely circulated Today’s Dietitian almost exactly concurrent with the California verdict. This summary, citing the most significant of recent research publications, concludes that but for select populations such as pregnant women, there is a strong suggestion of net health benefit from routine coffee consumption. That benefit even extends to an apparent reduction in overall risk of cancer, potentially related to a synergistic effect between caffeine and antioxidant compounds, although the mechanisms are still speculative.