LYON, France (CBS) – Does that first sip of coffee burn your tongue? It could also put you at risk for cancer.

That’s what experts at the World Health Organization are saying in a new report out this week.

Scientists found that while there’s no evidence that the ingredients in coffee can lead to cancer, they did conclude that “drinking very hot beverages probably causes cancer” in the esophagus.

Scalding hot drinks can cause damage to tissue, triggering uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. Coffee served at over 150 degrees is considered too hot, but many popular cafes serve their drinks at 180 degrees or hotter.

Animal experiments have shown some evidence that very hot water can be carcinogenic. Additionally, WHO says studies in other parts of the world have supported this line of thinking.

“Smoking and alcohol drinking are major causes of oesophageal cancer, particularly in many high-income countries,” said Dr. Christopher Wild, in a statement. “However, the majority of oesophageal cancers occur in parts of Asia, South America, and East Africa, where regularly drinking very hot beverages is common and where the reasons for the high incidence of this cancer are not as well understood.”


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