Garden Myths - Learn the truth about gardening

Chemicals in Coffee

In my previous post Fear of Chemicals I discussed some basic concepts about chemicals. I tried to convince you that most chemicals will not harm you.

I know many of you are still doubtful so consider the following.

chemicals in coffee,  a healthy food

Coffee – a healthy food ?

Chemicals in Coffee

Coffee contains thousands of chemicals, many of which have NOT yet been identified by chemists. Only 3% of the natural chemicals in roasted coffee have been adequately tested for carcinogenicity (ie are they cancer causing). There is no evidence that coffee is harmful; in fact recent studies show that it might actually help prevent some diseases. Here is a case where thousands of unknown chemicals exist and they don’t seem to harm us.

According to Bruce Ames, 21 known carcinogens are found in coffee including Acetaldehyde, benzaldehyde, benzene, benzofuran, benzo(a)pyrene, caffeic acid, catechol, 1,2,5,6-dibenzanthracene, ethanol, ethylbenzene, formaldehyde, furan, furfural, hydrogen peroxide, hydroquinone, isoprene, limonene, 4-methylcatechol, styrene, toluene, xylene. If coffee manufacturers listed these on the ingredient list – would you drink coffee? Would you drink anything containing such known hazardous chemicals as benzene, formaldehyde and toluene? Never – but you do.

Coffee is safe to drink:

– The levels of these chemicals is very low

– Carcinogens such as these are found in many of the fresh foods we eat

– There are quite a few studies that show coffee may actually be healthy for us.

There is no doubt that the above mentioned carcinogens are harmful and can cause cancer in higher dozes. But in very low amounts, as found in nature, there is no evidence that they are harmful.

The next post of this series, Natural Pesticides, will look at the actual levels of pesticides we ingest – the data will shock you and change the way you think about chemicals.


1) Photo Source: Dan Lacher

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Robert Pavlis
Editor of
I live in southern Ontario, Canada, zone 5 and have been gardening a long time. Besides writing and speaking about gardening, I own and operate a 6 acre private garden called Aspen Grove Gardens which now has over 3,000 perennials, grasses, shrubs and trees. Yes--I am a plantaholic!

I hope you find Garden Myths an educational site that helps you understand your garden better.

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