It appears I’ve been doing everything wrong, health-wise. According to a story in today’s Post, coffee causes cancer. Nice alliteration.
It appears that California “stores that have sold hot caffeinated beverages have violated a state law that requires businesses to provide ‘clear and reasonable warning’ about chemicals known to cause cancer.” Coffee, when brewed with hot water, produces something called acrylamide. Take that, Starbucks. Acrylamide is also present in potato chips, bread, French fries, and a variety of other grain products.
I think I’m screwed.
Rough math shows me I have consumed three to five cups of coffee daily over the past 60 years, for a total of between 68,000 to 110,000 cups. I don’t even want to count the French fries.
Acrylamide were discovered in 1990 but it wasn’t until 2002 that the Swedish Food Administration released its findings of a long-term study showing the chemical cause cancer and reproductive toxicity, though I’m not sure what the latter means. Some large enterprises, notably 7-Eleven,  have decided not to fight city hall and agreed to post consumer warnings. Others, including Starbucks, Peets, and smaller chains, have not. If they don’t toe the line, the suit “will press for $2500 fines per person for every exposure to the chemical since 2002.” Buh bye, barristas.
But here’s what I find interesting. The Post story is nowhere near the A-section, where it should be. It’s in Style, with other soft news about Oprah, Superbowl party dip suggestions, and a comparison between Patriot Quarterback Tom Brady and pop singer Taylor Swift. Heavy stuff.
I know the Post editors don’t take cancer lightly. There are weekly pieces about research, statistics, possible new cures and scams, so I’m surprised.
I used to work at the Post so just for the hell of it I called the paper up and asked to talk to someone who could elucidate this strange mystery. After being bounced around to a few morning editors, no one could really answer my query, though one person did tell me there had been debate in the newsroom about the story’s placement.
Possibly, it doesn’t matter. I already have cancer and plan to keep eating bread and drinking coffee.
I may try to give up French fries, but won’t promise to do so.

About epiphanettes

Writer, songcrafter, possibly the best French pedal steel guitarist in Virginia.
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