Don’t Drink Very Hot Coffee

Coffee has lots of health benefits but don’t drink very hot coffee. According to the Chicago Tribune the World Health Organization just jumped on the coffee band wagon.  They confirm that coffee does not cause cancer and has positive effects on liver and uterine cancers. Of course we know that coffee reduces your risk of type II diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and many more diseases. The one warning from WHO is that very hot beverages are associated with a higher incidence of esophageal cancer. It’s not what you drink but how hot it is served that increases the risk of cancer of the esophagus.

In reviewing the most recent scientific evidence over the past 25 years since its last analysis on the matter, the WHO concluded that coffee should no longer be considered a carcinogen and that it may actually have positive effects for your body when it comes to two types of cancers – liver and uterine cancers.

There was another significant finding: “Very hot” beverages “probably” cause cancer. This is mostly based on studies related to the consumption of a traditional drink called mate or cimarrón in South America where the tea can be taken at temperatures around 158 degrees Fahrenheit (or 70 degrees Celsius). That’s significantly hotter than people in North America or Europe usually consume their drinks.

So, if you are used to drinking your boiling hot coffee before it cools think again.

Very Hot McDonald’s Coffee

In 1994 there was a famous lawsuit against McDonald’s brought by a 79-year-old woman who suffered 3rd degree burns when coffee she had just purchased at a McDonald’s drive through. She asked McDonald’s to pay her $20,000 which was the amount for medical expenses which included hospitalization and skin grafting as well as other expenses related to the injury. McDonald’s offered $800. When the woman engaged an attorney and sued her lawyer asked for $300,000 in damages and McDonald’s offered $90,000. Settlement not reached and the case went to trial where the jury awarded the woman $160,000 for medical expenses and $2,700,000 in punitive damages. The trial judge reduced the final verdict to $640,000 and the parties settled out of court.

There were two reasons why the jury came back with a large punitive damages award. First is that McDonald’s made its franchises serve their coffee at 180-190 degrees which medical evidence shows would cause a 3rd degree burn within 7 seconds of contact with the skin. Second, McDonalds had prior knowledge of this issue and had always settled previous claims for a few hundred dollars.

Despite losing lawsuits McDonald’s still serves its coffee hot and has had a least one more burn lawsuit according to Huffington Post. A California woman ordered two cups of coffee at a McDonald’s drive through.

When the cups were handed to Fino, she alleges, one of the lids wasn’t safely secured.

The coffee spilled, causing “severe burning to her genitalia,” said her lawyer, Nicholas “Butch” Wagner, in an interview Friday. And it’s “still burning.”

“Despite over 1,000 complaints from customers about being burned by the coffee, McDonald’s still continues to brew the coffee at such an exceptionally high temperature,” Wagner said. “They are saving more in production costs in brewing coffee and serving at such high temperature than it costs them to settle the cases with these people who have been injured.”

So, don’t drink very hot coffee. If you spill it you get 3rd degree burns and there appears to be an association between beverages consumed at 170 degrees Fahrenheit or above and esophageal cancer!

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