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A recent study revealed that people who regularly drink scalding tea have a higher risk of having cancer of the esophagus, a tube that connects the throat with the stomach.
In 2004, a group of international researchers collected data from more than 50,000 frequent tea drinkers in Iran. The participants were first asked questions about their preferences in drinking tea, like their preferred tea temperature and the size of the cup they used. In the following years, the researchers monitored the participants’ health through phone calls.
In 2017, the researchers found that 317 of the participants developed cancer of the esophagus or esophageal [ih-sof-uh–JEE–uh l] cancer. In addition, the researchers noted that those who drank around three cups of tea at a temperature of 60°C or higher each day were 90% more at risk of developing the disease.
Dr. Farhad Islami, the lead author of the study, advises the public to wait until their beverages become lukewarm before drinking them.
Several experts have commented on the study. A food chemist thinks that the study is helpful and well thought out, unlike previous studies that got data only from self-reports. However, he said that further research is needed because the exact reason why drinking hot tea results in esophageal cancer is still open to question.
On the other hand, some experts do not consider drinking hot beverages a major risk. In fact, one German doctor who specializes in treating esophageal cancer said that he has yet to encounter a case wherein the disease was brought on by consuming hot drinks.