If you're the kind of person who likes it hot (your coffee and tea, that is), the World Health Organization has some bad news for you: Drinking very hot beverages could pose a cancer risk.
A new warning released by the WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) says that consuming beverages hotter than 149 degrees Farenheit is "probably carcinogenic to humans" and could increase the risk for oesophageal cancer. According to Reuters, oesophageal cancer is the eight most common cause of cancer and one of the most deadly types.
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When we heard this news, our first reaction was to wonder exactly how hot do our favorite beverages come served? After all, what does 149 degrees mean? To put it in context, our local Starbucks barista informed us that automatic machines at Starbucks can steam milk up to 200 degrees and manual machines up to 180 degrees—and unless you're asking for your drink to a specific temperature, odds are high your barista may be steaming it to the max.
This doesn't mean that we're giving up our morning caffeine fix—just that now we're extra cognizant of waiting a few extra minutes for our beverage to cool down.
The WHO is categorizing hot beverages in IARC's group 2A category, which also includes red meat. An official spokesperson tells Reuters, however, that even though they've released this warning, more research is still needed. He adds that alcohol and smoking are still more serious risk factors for esophageal cancer.
To keep getting your Starbucks fix without the heat, try its new (secret) purple drink!