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Health Nerd @GidMK
, 19 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
So, had a quick fun look at the California coffee/cancer claim and it's even sillier than you might imagine

Follow this thread if you want to laugh at numbers
The idea is that acrylamide in coffee might be giving people cancer, because there are a number of studies where researchers gave rodents acrylamide and this caused cancer
BUT this is contradicted by epidemiological evidence which has not found a consistent link between acrylamide cancer…
Thus the IARC classification of 2A, meaning it's likely that acrylamide causes cancer but we aren't sure if it does yet

Which might be because of the dose
You see, the rats in the original studies that I linked above were getting quite a lot of acrylamide
The lowest amounts where cancer was detected are about 1 mg/kg. Extrapolating to the average(ish) 75kg adult human, that's 75mg
How much acrylamide is in your coffee? The CDC has some figures from the early noughties that put it at ~300ppb (parts per BILLION)
That means that every gram of dry coffee beans has ~roughly~ 0.0000003 grams of acrylamide in it
Now, brewed coffee probably has even less. But let's take that 0.0000003 grams as the figure that you'd find per milliliter of coffee
Let's do the maths on this 75mg figure
The 0.0000003 grams figure converts to 0.0003 milligrams

75/0.0003 = 250,000

That means that using this estimate, you'd have to drink 250,000ml of coffee to get 75mg of acrylamide
250,000ml is 250 LITERS of coffee

For reference, that's about 500 cups

I haven't even gotten to the best part yet:

To get the amount of acrylamide FROM COFFEE that this court suggested is possibly a problem, you'd have to drink 500 cups a day

I would humbly suggest that this is probably impossible
P.S. here's the source for those CDC figures. The important note is that it depends on which coffee brand you pick, but since I used one of the highest readings it doesn't make much difference anyway…
P.P.S. the other important thing to remember is that acrylamide is found in most cooked starchy foods so you could potentially get dangerous amounts if you eat a lot of burned things but the claims from California are specifically about coffee not all food
P.P.P.S forgot to mention that coffee contains caffeine, which in doses of as little as 50 cups is enough to kill you so "probably impossible" is generous here
Final note: this thread doesn't talk about skin exposure to acrylamide, which is different. But unless people are rubbing thousands of cups of coffee on their skin each day, I reckon we're alright there too
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