Drinking beverages at temperatures above 65 degrees Celsius -- 149 degrees Fahrenheit -- could cause people to develop cancer of their esophagus, the eighth most common form of cancer worldwide, claims a review by a panel of global experts.
The findings come after a group of 23 international scientists analyzed all available data on the carcinogenicity of coffee, maté -- a leaf infusion consumed commonly in South America and other regions -- and a range of other hot beverages, including tea.
‘Coffee and maté does not have conclusive evidence for any cancer-causing effects when served at cool or warm temperatures, meaning the drinks themselves were not classified as carcinogenic.’
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.
The new classification puts consuming very hot drinks in the same risk group as exposure to substances such as lead, gasoline and exhaust fumes, which are also classified as "possibly carcinogenic" by the agency. Use of talcum powder on the perineal or anal regions of the body is also within this 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, director of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).