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WHO: Coffee Does Not Cause Cancer

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Good news, coffee drinkers: A new scientific review finds no conclusive evidence that coffee causes cancer. In fact, coffee may even help protect against certain cancers.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, revised this week its 1991 determination that classified coffee as possibly carcinogenic. Since then, there have been a lot of studies on the health effects of coffee, so the agency decided to re-evaluate the evidence. On review, the agency determined that coffee drinkers have no reason to worry.

Coffee may even help protect against certain cancers.

Is this flip-flop a reason to dismiss studies linking cancer to eating bacon, using cell phones or other habits, on grounds that science doesn't prove anything? On the contrary. Scientific understanding of an issue conforms to the best available knowledge, which is constantly progressing. As our knowledge grows and changes, so too might our conclusions.

The 1991 classification was based on a few studies that found associations between drinking coffee and bladder cancer. The World Health Organization noted at the time that the evidence was limited.

Historically, coffee drinkers also tend to be smokers and smoking is a strong risk factor for bladder cancer. Coffee was classified as a possible carcinogen because researchers couldn't confirm whether the association with bladder cancer was an artifact of smoking.

More recent studies have far more robust assessments of smoking as well as more complete evaluations of occupational exposures and other risk factors. When these risk factors are more accurately controlled, a link between coffee and bladder cancer is no longer seen. Taking this new information into account is what caused the agency to revise its previous assessment and conclude coffee drinking is “unclassifiable as to its carcinogenicity"—in other words, there's no evidence it causes cancer.

But the news gets even better for coffee drinkers.

Recent studies have found some evidence that drinking coffee regularly may reduce the risk of liver cancer and endometrial cancer. Other evidence shows coffee may be beneficial in reducing liver disease and type 2 diabetes.

Just how coffee reduces the risk of these cancers is not entirely understood. One clue: Coffee contains compounds that can have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, which may play a role.

One thing we know for sure: what we eat and drink has a tremendous impact on our health. For more information on healthy eating, visit EWG's Food Scores.

Enjoy your coffee—just go easy on the cream and sugar.

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Protesters gathered outside US Bank and Wells Fargo locations around the U.S. to protest investment in the Dakota Access Pipeline on Dec. 1, 2016. This photo is from a protest outside US Bank in south Minneapolis, Minnesota. Fibonacci Blue / CC BY 2.0

By Jake Johnson

As a growing number of states move to pass laws that would criminalize pipeline protests and hit demonstrators with years in prison, an audio recording obtained by The Intercept showed a representative of a powerful oil and gas lobbying group bragging about the industry's success in crafting anti-protest legislation behind closed doors.


Speaking during a conference in Washington, DC in June, Derrick Morgan, senior vice president for federal and regulatory affairs at the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), touted "model legislation" that states across the nation have passed in recent months.

AFPM represents a number of major fossil fuel giants, including Chevron, Koch Industries and ExxonMobil.

"We've seen a lot of success at the state level, particularly starting with Oklahoma in 2017," said Morgan, citing Dakota Access Pipeline protests as the motivation behind the aggressive lobbying effort. "We're up to nine states that have passed laws that are substantially close to the model policy that you have in your packet."


The audio recording comes just months after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law legislation that would punish anti-pipeline demonstrators with up to 10 years in prison, a move environmentalists condemned as a flagrant attack on free expression.

"Big Oil is hijacking our legislative system," Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network said after the Texas Senate passed the bill in May.

As The Intercept's Lee Fang reported Monday, the model legislation Morgan cited in his remarks "has been introduced in various forms in 22 states and passed in ... Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota."

"The AFPM lobbyist also boasted that the template legislation has enjoyed bipartisan support," according to Fang. "In Louisiana, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the version of the bill there, which is being challenged by the Center for Constitutional Rights. Even in Illinois, Morgan noted, 'We almost got that across the finish line in a very Democratic-dominated legislature.' The bill did not pass as it got pushed aside over time constraints at the end of the legislative session."

Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.

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