- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Coffee retailers in California may soon display warnings that the dark brew contains a potentially lethal chemical, as a years-old lawsuit against companies winds down.

Lawyers for the nonprofit Council for Education and Research on Toxics told CNN at least 13 coffee companies named in their 2010 lawsuit have agreed to give a warning that coffee contains acrylamide, a carcinogen created during production.

The defendants include Starbucks, BP and 7-Eleven.

The Food and Drug Administration first became aware of the cancer-causing risks of acrylamide in 2010, after a study exposing animals to very high doses of the chemical was shown to have negative health risks. Yet the agency said it’s unclear if the low levels present in many common foods is a public health danger.

Acrylamide is frequently found in cooked foods, mostly by frying, roasting or baking. It’s also found in potato products, grain produce and coffee, the FDA says, and that boiling and steaming don’t create the chemical.

The American Cancer Society says that it’s not clear if acrylamide affects cancer risk in people.

The prosecution argues that coffee companies are required to warn customers about the chemical under California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, also known as Proposition 65, which requires companies to notify customers if their products contain known-hazardous chemicals.

Yet the defendants argue coffee’s established health benefits outweigh the risk, CNN reported.

Raphael Metzger, the attorney representing the nonprofit, told CNN that private mediation with nine of the remaining retailers is set for Feb. 8 and, absent a settlement, would likely be decided by a judge later this year.

“I’m addicted to coffee, I confess, and I would like to be able to have mine without acrylamide,” Mr. Metzger told CNN.

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