While experts often debate whether or not coffee is healthy, one nonprofit group wants you to think twice before you sip the stuff due to an ingredient that they claim may give you cancer.
The Council for Education and Research on Toxics originally filed the lawsuit in 2010 in California, though the long delayed legal process resumed on Oct. 2, notes The Associated Press. It all centers around the carcinogen acrylamide, which occurs naturally during coffee roasting and is also present in other cooked foods like french fries.
The organization says in the lawsuit that retailers and coffee shop corporations are not following a state law that requires them to post hazardous chemical warnings on the drink and are hoping to get California coffee sellers to change their ways.
"I'm addicted -- like two-thirds of the population," said Raphael Metzger, the council's attorney, who drinks around three cups a day, according to AP. "I would like the industry to get acrylamide out of the coffee so my addiction doesn't force me to ingest it."
Coffee companies maintain that the levels of acrylamide are low enough not to cause any hazards and that coffee's health benefits counteract any possible risky chemicals.
"Coffee is loaded with antioxidants," said Joe DeRupo, a spokesman for the National Coffee Association, according to CNN. "Many are naturally occurring antioxidants found in the coffee bean, while others are created during the roasting process. It's these compounds that science links with positive effects in reducing the risk of several diseases."
Indeed, some studies have shown that coffee helps lower the risk of contracting diseases like skin cancer, Alzheimer's, type 2 diabetes, liver disease and colorectal cancer.
Still, a cup of joe might not be safe for everyone. Pregnant women and those with heart problems should limit their coffee consumption to be safe, for reasons unrelated to acrylamide.
If found guilty of failing to post the warnings, the 90-some defendants could be forced to pay massive sums up to $2,500 per each person exposed per day, notes AP.
In order to show that coffee doesn't need such a disclaimer, the defense must prove that the fewer than one out of every 100,000 coffee drinkers will face elevated cancer risks from the drink.