Decaffeinated coffee, tea may have damaged ozone layer: study | Scientists find dichloromethane, a chemical commonly used in the food...


Decaffeinated coffee, tea may have damaged ozone layer: study | Scientists find dichloromethane, a chemical commonly used in the food industry, delayed recovery of the atmosphere’s ozone layer by up to 30 years



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8 Comments

  • Chemistry major here. Dichloromethane, like many non-polar solvents are liable to give you cancer in trace amounts. Yes, it evaporates readily, but when used in something to be directly consumed, like coffee and tea, some trace amounts will always be present after the separation of caffeine from the media.

    I’m not sure about other countries, but in the US we decaffeinate using a supercritical fluid. I’m still an undergrad, but from what limited stuff I know, they put helium or carbon dioxide or some inert gas into a machine that puts the gas under high pressure, so it turns into a liquid. The non-polar liquid(gaseous at room temp and pressure) is then pumped through the tea/coffee and used to perform the separation. Materials are brought to room temp and pressure, and you get decaf separated by not DCM.

  • I already didn’t like decaffeinated tea but now I really don’t like it

  • Yeah, I think I heard that the decaffeination process uses nasty chemicals that you probably wouldn’t want to ingest. If it also messes with the ozone that’s another reason not to drink decaffeinated beverages.

  • Eh, anyone who would drink decaffeinated tea or coffee is the spawn of Satan anyway.

  • Here’s the original study to which this article is alluding:
    https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms15962
    This piece hits home, for Dr. Sears, who I follow for nutrition advice, said that coffee gets decaffeinated using this methylene chloride, which is another name for dichloromethane: https://youtu.be/Su8CCUUbJIw?t=53s

  • Decaffe is the devil I knew something was up. Do yourself a favor and have a half cup.

  • From the title and the first paragraph, I thought the delay had already happened. Luckily not:

    > continued dichloromethane increases at the average trend observed from 2004-2014 would delay ozone recovery over Antarctica by 30 years. If dichloromethane concentrations stay at current levels, the delay in recovery would be only five years.

  • Decaffeinated coffee and tea isn’t good for you anyway because of the chemicals they use to separate the caffeine out. I guess it’s not good for the planet either.

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