Popular Science, a popular quarterly magazine, published an article on April 4, 2018 calling out California for saying that everything causes cancer. In California Proposition 65 requires business with 10 or more employees to provide reasonable warnings about the use of any chemicals the state has decided “could cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm.”


The article primarily takes issue with recent news that Proposition 65 warnings will be required for coffee (See Mitchell Chadwick’s article on the Prop 65 warnings imposed on coffee published April 27, 2018). The Popular Science article states that “the problem, of course, is that coffee doesn’t cause cancer.” The offending chemical – acrylamide – can cause cancer at very high doses, but the levels found in foods (including coffee) are harmless. The American Cancer Society agrees that the level humans ingest of acrylamide is unlikely to cause cancer. Acrylamide is found in almost everything that has been cooked at a high temperature from roasted asparagus to potato chips. Unbeknownst to the general population, we’ve been unintentionally eating acrylamide our whole lives!

The hype over acrylamide came after a single rodent study that found it caused a “few more cases of cancer than baseline when given in extraordinarily high doses.” The article concludes that California “has a history of taking one or two studies to inform their better-safe-than-sorry stance, even if the overall body of evidence contradicts those reports.”

The full Popular Science article may be found HERE.