The World Health Organization (WHO) has determined that tumors of the esophagus are likely the result of high temperatures and not the tea, coffee or mate consumed.
“There is physical evidence that very hot beverages can contribute to cell injury in the esophagus and thus contribute to cancer formation,” concluded Dr. Mariana Stern, from the University of Southern California. Stern and her co-authors examined more than 1,000 studies documenting the effects of 20 different kinds of cancer.
The team concluded that drinking any beverage hotter than 149 degrees Fahrenheit “is probably carcinogenic to humans, placing scalding hot drinks in the same category as DDT, frying food at high temperatures, consumption of red meat and the human papillomavirus,” according to a report in Sci-News.
Animal testing with scalding water suggested a similarly high incidence. The report concluded there is insufficient evidence to conclude coffee or tea itself is a carcinogen.
“In the United States, the average coffee drinking temperature is around 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius),” Dr. Stern said, adding. “The temperature varies between 99-190 degrees Fahrenheit (37-88 degrees Celsius).”
In May, 2016, a Working Group of 23 scientists from ten countries met at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyon, France, to evaluate the carcinogenicity of drinking coffee, mate, tea, and very hot beverages.
“Studies in places such as China, Iran, Turkey, and South America, where tea or mate is traditionally drunk very hot (at about 158 degrees Fahrenheit, or 70 degrees Celsius), found that the risk of oesophageal cancer increased with the temperature at which the beverage was drunk,” the scientists explained.
These assessments were published in volume 116 of the IARC Monographs. The results were published online last week in the journal Lancet Oncology.
Source: The Lancet, TIME