Very hot drinks 'possibly carcinogenic', says WHO's cancer agency

Updated: 2016-06-30 10:37


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The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) said drinking very hot liquids could cause cancer but added no conclusive evidence showed that coffee is probably carcinogenic.

Based on limited data which have shown a positive links between oesophageal cancer and drinking very hot beverages, the World Health Organization agency rated very hot drinks as probably carcinogenic in its group 2A category.

"These results suggest that drinking very hot beverages is one probable cause of oesophageal cancer and that it is the temperature, rather than the drinks themselves, that appears to be responsible," said Christopher Wild. IARC's director.

"Smoking and alcohol consumption are major causes of oesophageal cancer, especially in many high-income countries. However, the majority of oesophageal cancers occur in parts of Asia, South America and East Africa, where drinking very hot drinks is common," he added.

The IARC said studies conducted in China, Iran, Turkey and South America which consumed very hot tea and mate, an infusion, at above 70 Celsius, showed that "the risk of oesophageal cancer may increase with the temperature of the drink."

Some experiments with animals found very hot water could promote the development of tumors, added the agency which is based on Lyon, France.

Oesophageal cancer is the eighth most common cause of cancer worldwide and one of the main causes of cancer deaths, with around 400,000 deaths recorded in 2012.


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