Does Coffee Cause Cancer?

Acrylamide is a chemical that forms while cooking some foods at high temperatures above 250°F. It is a potentially neurotoxic natural byprodct produced in the coffee roasting process. Should you be concerned about this? Many coffee manufacturers and sellers have been fighting a lawsuit since 2010 over roasted coffee beans allegedly containing low levels of the carcinogen acrylamide. Proposition 65 requires warning labels on anything that contains cancer causing materials so coffee packaging may soon come with warning labels.

cup of coffee

America is the world's largest coffee consumer as 83 percent of American adults drink an average of 3 cups per day. The $40 Billion dollar coffee industry explains the amounts of acrylamide found in coffee are too small to cause any health risks.

Acrylamide is used in industrial processes like paper production and wastewater treatment. Sources of acylamide include cigarette smoke, toast, cereals and roasted vegetables. Some studies based on lab animals have concluded acrylamide to be a "probable human carcinogen." The reduction in cooking times, blanching, and drying in a hot oven after frying may decrease the amount of acrylamide in some foods. Lightly toasted bread would have lower levels of acrylamide than darker toast.

If your diet consists of mainly food that is fried, roasted and baked at high temperatures, it would be helpful to add boiled and steamed food to your diet. Adopting a healthy eating plan emphasizing fruits and vegetables is almost always step towards better health.

Is Acrylamide in Coffee a Health Concern?

Minute amounts of acrylamide are found in coffee. High concentrations of it have been found to be harmful in lab animals. Acrylamide is a health concern and we should limit our intake of it. Many other foods have higher average concentrations (µg/kg).

  • Baked french fries: 397
  • Brewed Coffee: 7.8
  • Cereal: 119
  • Fried french fries: 404
  • Potato chips: 597
  • Prune Juice: 214


  • National Cancer Institute. Acrylamide in Food and Cancer Risk. Retrieved from
  • U.S. Food & Drug Administration. (2016, March 10) Acrylamide Questions and Answers
  • American Cancer Society (2015, August 24). Acrylamide and Cancer Risk. Retrieved from
  • National Coffee Association. The NCA Guide to Acrylamide & Coffee. Retrieved from