Scientists Busted a Myth About Coffee

June 26th 2016

Kyle Jaeger

The verdict is in. New research found that drinking coffee is not linked to an increased risk of cancer, a new report found, but drinking coffee (or any beverage) when it's scolding hot might.

In 1991, the drink was classified as a possible carcinogen based on a study that linked the coffee to bladder cancer in men. But after reviewing 1,000 subsequent studies, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (part of the World Health Organization) determined that current research didn't support that conclusion.

Here's how coffee can be bad for you. 

Drinking coffee or any other beverage that's above a certain temperature (149 degrees Fahrenheit) does appear to raise one's risk of esophageal cancer, according to the study, published in The Lancet Oncology journal. Coffee is generally served at 160 degrees Fahrenheit, Bloomberg reports, but people tend to wait for it to cool to about 140 degrees.

"[This study] does not show that coffee is certainly safe," Dana Loomis, the deputy head of IARC's Monograph classification department, said a press conference, according to Reuters. "But there is less reason for concern today than there was before."

Now, an important thing to keep in mind about this study is that it is not necessarily designed to estimate the specific risk of cancer associated with these beverages and temperatures. It merely determines whether there is the possibility that these factors are possibly carcinogenic and classifies the risk, respectively.

Prior to this report's release, the IARC classified coffee as category 2B, which means that it was possibly linked to bladder cancer. Following the comprehensive review of coffee cancer studies, however, the agency reclassified coffee as category 3, "which means it cannot be classified," the BBC reports.

The takeaway? It's probably safe to drink coffee, but seriously... wait for it to cool down first. Iced coffee, anyone?

RELATED: 4 Reasons Coffee Is Good For You