Fact Check: NO Evidence Drinking Coffee Causes Cancer, Experts Say

Fact Check

  • by: Courtney Kealy
Fact Check: NO Evidence Drinking Coffee Causes Cancer, Experts Say No Evidence

Does regularly consuming a cup of java increase the odds of developing cancer thanks to the chemical acrylamide in the brew? No, that's not true: Repeated medical studies have found no link between acrylamide and cancer, the National Cancer Institute reports. Medical experts have found no conclusive evidence of a cancer risk from coffee in general, and have instead found lower risk of certain cancers.

The claim appeared in a video on Facebook on January 19, 2023. Its caption read:

COFFEE IS FULL OF CARCINOGENS and MUCH MORE#thematrix#wakeup#conscious#conspriacy


Eleven seconds into the video, the narrator, an unidentified man, points at a collection of screenshots and states:

Here are just a few of the cancer-causing chemicals found in your coffee. If you don't believe me, Google 'acrylamide.'

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:


(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Fri Jan 27 19:24:05 2023 UTC)

The video provided no peer-reviewed evidence by recognized medical experts to back up its claims.

The public affairs director at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins emailed Lead Stories on January 26, 2023, with links to what it termed "two authoritative sources of information."

The first link is a summary of coffee risks by the American Institute for Cancer Research, which states on its website that it was founded "to increase awareness of the diet-cancer link." The organization's summary notes:

  • There is probable evidence that coffee DECREASES the risk of:
    • Endometrial and liver cancers


  • Limited evidence suggests that coffee may DECREASE the risk of:
    • Mouth, pharynx, larynx and skin cancers, though more research is needed to determine if these are cause and effect associations.

The second link is to a 2016 study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the cancer agency of the World Health Organization. The study reports that 23 scientists evaluated "the carcinogenic effect of drinking coffee" and "found no conclusive evidence" that such an effect exists.

Though the study found that "drinking very hot beverages probably causes" cancer of the esophagus, that connection depends on the temperatures, "rather than the drinks themselves," then-IARC Director Dr. Christopher Wild wrote.

Coffee is one of the major food sources of the chemical acrylamide, which the Facebook video claims causes cancer. The media office at the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, emailed Lead Stories on January 26, 2023, a link to a fact sheet on "Acrylamide and Cancer Risk," that said:

A large number of epidemiologic studies (both case-control and cohort studies) in humans have found no consistent evidence that dietary acrylamide exposure is associated with the risk of any type of cancer.

Lead Stories previously has debunked claims that toothpaste, COVID-19 test swabs and Kinder Joy candies, among other products, also cause cancer. Those fact checks can be found here.

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  Courtney Kealy

Courtney Kealy is a writer and fact-checker at Lead Stories. A graduate of Columbia University’s School of Journalism, she specializes in national and foreign affairs with more than two decades experience in the Middle East. Her work has appeared on FOX News, AlJazeera America, ABC News, the New York Times, Marie Claire, Time and Newsweek.

Read more about or contact Courtney Kealy

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