Very hot beverages can be carcinogenic

Drinking hot coffee or tea may be carcinogenic to the esophagus

Very hot beverages can be carcinogenic

During the cold weather anyone who would love curl in under a blanket with a cup of hot coffee, should wait till the heat subsides, as consuming hot drinks would increase the risks of developing cancer.

In a report by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the cancer agency of the World Health Organization, drinking very hot beverages was classified as "probably carcinogenic to humans."

The report stated that drinking beverages above 65 degrees Celsius, 149 degrees Fahrenheit, could trigger cancer in the esophagus, which has taken the 8th position among cancers.

Drinking tea, coffee or other hot beverages at this temperature can cause significant burns in the esophagus when consumed and has been linked to an increased cancer risk in this part of the body.

The 65-degree Celsius temperature noted by the cancer research agency is enough to burn your tongue, and and according to the American Burn Association, skin contact with a liquid this hot can result in almost instantaneous burns if prolonged.

“It doesn’t matter what the liquid is,” said epidemiologist Dana Loomis, who took part in a review of the world’s most popular hot beverages. “What matters is the temperature.”

For some types of cancer, there are clues that coffee may even be beneficial when taken at moderate temperatures. A few studies, the agency said, showed a positive association with a lower risk of cancer of the uterus, liver and breast.

”Smoking and alcohol drinking are major causes of esophageal cancer, particularly in many high-income countries,” stresses Dr Wild, International Agency For Research on Cancer(IARC) Director. “However the majority of oesophageal cancers occur in parts of Asia, South America, and East Africa, where regularly drinking very hot beverages is common and where the reasons for the high incidence of this cancer are not as well understood.”

The IARC Monographs Program seeks to classify cancer hazards, meaning the potential of any substance to cause cancer based on current knowledge. The classification does not indicate what level of risk exists to people’s health associated with exposure to a classified hazard. For example, IARC has classified tobacco smoking as carcinogenic to humans, but that classification does not indicate the increase in risk for each cigarette smoked.