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Formaldehyde Residue in Decaf Coffee?

10/13/2009 11:43 AM

I searched the entire CR4 web site for postings related and did not find any. I searched the internet, found articles stating that there are dangerous levels of formaldehyde in decaf coffee, and articles that state the FDA allows non-dangerous levels, and articles that state there isn't any residual formaldehyde! If the decaf process uses methylene chloride or formaldehyde, as it absorbs caffeine, then it may not matter because our erythrocytes convert methylene chloride to formaldehyde anyways.

I am not a chemist or I wouldn't be posting this. So, 1) is there any scientific study proving residual formaldehyde in decaf, 2) if yes, then what level is considered dangerous to the human body, 3) if yes, any brands of decaf you know of that aren't dangerous, 4) same line of questioning for methylene chloride ?

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#1

Re: Formaldehyde residue in decaf coffee?

10/13/2009 2:44 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decaffeination

Plenty of articles on the internet on this one, and I wouldn't call any of the ones I briefly looked at credible. As for as risk, I would be more concerned about the level of rat hair in coffee or any of the other chemicals than any possible trace formaldehyde residue.

Over 1,000 chemicals have been reported in roasted coffee: more than half of those tested (19/28) are rodent carcinogens. (Wiki link below)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffee_and_health

Just another reason to drink tea.

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#3
In reply to #1

Re: Formaldehyde residue in decaf coffee?

10/13/2009 5:11 PM

Ahh yes, but when looking at the whole article, the benefits of drinking coffee far outweigh the risks.

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#2

Re: Formaldehyde Residue in Decaf Coffee?

10/13/2009 5:08 PM

Yep - I read the Wiki a while ago too. I lost count but in the last several months I would surmize I've read over 100 articles on the internet and I have yet to find an actual scientific study with results to read. It would seem to me, although I am not a chemist, that there is residue in the decaf coffee, and if so any amount would be hazardous/toxic (unless I want to be preserved from the inside out!) I was not aware of rat product in coffee, but it's not surprising, guess that's what the filter is for - just kidding. I will keep searching!

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#5
In reply to #2

Re: Formaldehyde Residue in Decaf Coffee?

10/13/2009 6:59 PM
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#4

Re: Formaldehyde Residue in Decaf Coffee?

10/13/2009 6:00 PM

Here are some figures in ppm for formaldehyde in brewed vs instant coffee (search turned up nothing on decaf). Instant sucks!

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3949681?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

as for methylene chloride, there is more in decaf tea than there is in decaf coffee!

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6469909?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DiscoveryPanel.Pubmed_Discovery_RA&linkpos=3&log$=relatedarticles&logdbfrom=pubmed

methylene chloride (aka dichloromethane) is an acute toxin and a probable carcinogen. see the description of effects, below "fatigue, lethargy, headache" - sounds too much like the effects of decaf to me (yuck) . For an unbiased perspective, try searching with "FDA approved ppm" and "chronic toxicity ppm"..

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8465711?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_TitleSearch&linkpos=2&log$=pmtitlesearch4

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#6

Re: Formaldehyde Residue in Decaf Coffee?

10/14/2009 12:34 AM

In this case, I think I'll go with my own experience... Every time I've come in contact with methylene chloride, I've come out the loser. I hate that chemical - scares the crap out of me!!!

On the other hand, formaldehyde is really poisonous - If you've read the Hot Zone (true story), the last step in sterilizing the lab was to put formaldehyde crystals in a frying pan on a hot plate. Kills everything.

Even funnier... If you have a copy of the Merck Index, take a look at the structure of amyloid proteins, those little fibers found all through the brains of Alzheimer patients and the structure of formaldehyde. I'm no doctor, but I think I'll stay as far away from formaldehyde as possible.

So, f&#k decaf!!!

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#7

Re: Formaldehyde Residue in Decaf Coffee?

10/14/2009 2:00 AM

Very interesting post, many thanks to all concerned.

I stopped drinking coffee because of bladder irritations from it about 15 years ago and since then I only drink tea......am I glad I did that!!!

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#8
In reply to #7

Re: Formaldehyde Residue in Decaf Coffee?

10/14/2009 3:17 AM

Hi Andy!

I remember when those delightful marachino cherries used in drinks were treated with Formaldehyde. Haven't seen that chemistry on the lable in decades.

How's the puppy?

L.J.

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#11
In reply to #8

Re: Formaldehyde Residue in Decaf Coffee?

10/14/2009 2:37 PM

She's grown very big, even for a Weimaraner Bitch, nearly 14 months old and is 67cm at the shoulder (when I measured her at 1 at year old), thats as big as most of the dogs and far bigger than most Bitches.

When I read your post she was trying to stop me working by leaning her head on my right arm......

She is still a (BIG) Puppy at heart.....she keeps me sane too!!!

I ride my push bike and she lopes alongside, we do on average 20 odd Kms per day, sometimes more, its getting my weight down too....

Marking this as off topic for obvious reasons. But she is almost milky coffee colored.....if you use your imagination and no formaldehyde either!!

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#9

Re: Formaldehyde Residue in Decaf Coffee?

10/14/2009 10:13 AM

You could (and probably do) ingest things a lot worse than formaldehyde. It occurs naturally in many edibles we enjoy. I worked in a lab making permanent press textile resins based on formaldehyde reactants. We set out on a quest for the "Zero Formaldehyde" that everybody said they wanted (until they learned the price!). It doesn't exist outside of a special lab environment. I tested an apple and found 10 ppm formaldehyde. I found a similar level in a bowl of cotton picked straight from the cotton field. Back in the old days when technicians made permanent press resins on the lab bench, they got an occasional whiff of formaldehyde , but rarely got a cold or the flu. Low levels have an anti-microbial effect. "The dose makes the poison" as has been said. Formaldehyde is a STRONG irritant and will force you to leave the area before you can inhale dangerous amounts. Those rats in the inhalation studies were so overdosed that they probably didn't need to be embalmed to preserve them, and were confined to the cages and couldn't leave. If I were you, I'd enjoy my coffee, and wonder about the pesticide residue and salmonella on the fresh, healthy veggies I buy in the store.

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#10

Re: Formaldehyde Residue in Decaf Coffee?

10/14/2009 1:23 PM

Neslie's uses super critical C02 + MeOH (0.5%). In addition, this will strip the "rat poisons).

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#12

Re: Formaldehyde Residue in Decaf Coffee?

10/26/2009 12:59 AM

The FDA banned the use of formaldehyde or formalin in the US production of decaffeinated coffee prior to 1985. Since then the decaffeinated coffee manufacturers use 4 methods: Spring water filtration, CO2, metylene chloride, and ethyl acetate. Despite the retractions of the original report by a physician syndicated columnist from the NY Times in 1986, that formaldehyde was still being used to make decaffeinated, it has lived on as an "urban" legend. so drink your decaff and stop searching.

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#15
In reply to #12

Re: Formaldehyde Residue in Decaf Coffee?

11/21/2009 9:40 AM

I come at the formaldehyde issue from a different direction. I had no idea that there was or ever had been formaldehyde in coffee. The reason I Googled "is there formaldehyde in coffee?" was because, as I opened my can of Maxwell House decaf I got a whiff and said, "Wow, that's formaldehyde!" So, unless there is a coffee agent that smells exactly like formaldehyde (a rather distinct smell) then I will go with the, "yes, there still is..." Bush corporate oversight being what it was(n't), that doesn't surprise me--excuse the political comment.

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#13

Re: Formaldehyde Residue in Decaf Coffee?

10/26/2009 1:12 AM

As an aside to my previous post, the Dept of Agriculture in the late 1800's recommended the use of formaldehyde in milk as a preservative. It was banned after a great many infants died. In Uptain Sinclair's book "The Jungle" there is mention of Blue Milk which is the color it turns when formaldehyde is added. By the way formadehyde is most often mixed as formalin. A mixture of wood alcohol + 34% formadehyde. The wood alcohol will make you go blind as the formadehyde "pickles" you...

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#14

Re: Formaldehyde Residue in Decaf Coffee?

10/27/2009 3:03 PM

In all the 100s or internet articles I read, I didn't find the ban you spoke of until I specifically searched for it - thank you very much for that data.

I wonder if we still import decaf coffee made by the process using formaldehyde - or did the ban cover imports too? I did not read that in the internet articles about the ban from the FDA site.

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#16

Re: Formaldehyde Residue in Decaf Coffee?

06/24/2010 4:53 PM

I am "allergic" to formaldehyde topically, I get very bad raised, red, blistering rashes it it touches my skin.

I drink decaffenated coffee, with descriptions stating "natural decaffenation" process. But what is that "really" and is there NO formaldehyde in the decaffenated coffee?

Ihave found that if i drink some coffees, i get the rash all over, starting on face, head, scap, and then goes down body from there.

How can I still enjoy drinking coffee, but know for sure that the various products have NO formaldehyde?

Thanks, Gail

San Diego, CA

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#17
In reply to #16

Re: Formaldehyde Residue in Decaf Coffee?

06/24/2010 5:34 PM

Some processes use super critical carbon dioxide to remove caffeine. maybe that is natural. "NO" formaldehyde is an interesting term. How do you know there is none, if you don't test for it, and any test has a detection limit. "Below detectable limits" is a bit more informative, if the limits are stated. Your sensitivity may be as good as sophisticated instrumentation! Pick a couple brands and write their customer service folks with your concerns.

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#18
In reply to #17

Re: Formaldehyde Residue in Decaf Coffee?

06/24/2010 5:54 PM

Thank you. The other comments above about Formaldehyde being in many other foods, additives, topical beauty or medicine products etc... I'd say anything we as people come in contact with, is of concern to me as it "has" been much trial and error with my own individual bodies reaction to find products which I can eat and use, even soaps, seems any items, without having these adverse effects.

The comments about how formaldehyde as a poision, can be found in the brains of alzhiemer's victims is of interest to me as my father died from this, (what about livers?) Do our brains and livers (what other organ's) are prone to such assorbsion over our life times such that an accumalative effect eventually builds up and then makes itself known by afflicting us with demensia/alzhiemenr's/liver diseases?

I have recently also had a brother and uncles, and have cousin's now, (this is all recently news to our family as a result of modern genetic testing) that Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficency gene in strong in our families and extended families.

I wonder? the Organic growing of food, elimination of added chemicals and pesticides in food growth, and ridding ourselves of so many chemicals, poisons ect.. in our modern world, does in fact make total sense to our direct health.

When I am very carefull to eat "plain" foods, washed well, USA grown and organic, even grown in my own garden with nothing but water, my skin heals up and I feel and look better and have better memory function and energy. I am only 52.

Very interesting thoughts?

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#19
In reply to #18

Re: Formaldehyde Residue in Decaf Coffee?

06/24/2010 6:24 PM

The previous comment I made regarding a brother dying from liver disease from a life long build up of elements in his liver from his late diagnoise of Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency, what ever he ingested, food, medicines, .... his body could not process and filter out, would get "stuck" in his liver. His lungs were affected also.

He died at 57 years old, a life long "big" drinker of the orignial version of Coke
Cola with caffenine. I would think about soda drinks then.

My so called "allergies" are affected also by what soda drinks I ingest. If I have any, it must be plain, no color, no caffenine, but what about all the other chemicals listed on these soda and other modern "drinks"?

Does our tap water have formaldehyde in it?

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#20
In reply to #19

Re: Formaldehyde Residue in Decaf Coffee?

06/24/2010 8:44 PM

I teach a water analysis lab at a technical college. Tap water is not supposed to have formaldehyde in it. Chlorination, carbon filters, microbial digestion and aeration should remove that. We actually toured a waste water treatment plant this afternoon. By law, the treated water they release back into the river must be cleaner than the water already in the river. Have you tried the Brita filter or the Zero water filter for your tap water? Do you have a filter on your ice maker in your refrigerator? Water can be crystal clear and clean when it leaves the water plant, but can pick up sediment and rust from inside old pipes along the way to your house.

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