I’m sharing these important facts about Decaf in collaboration with the Clean Label Project.
There are many reasons why you might switch from regular coffee to decaffeinated coffee. You might be trying to detox and reduce your reliance on caffeine. You might even have caffeine reduction be recommended by a doctor for heart health or other health-related reasons. Most commonly, pregnant women are instructed to reduce caffeine and may switch to Decaf rather than skipping coffee altogether. I know, we gotta wean off the coffee.
I love coffee. I love to drink it in the morning as I’m starting work for the day. I love to sip it on the lanai. Since becoming a mom, I have definitely relied on coffee’s help for getting through the day. But when I was in the process of becoming a mom, I had to chill out on the coffee drinking. Which, as a tired pregnant woman, is tough. So drinking Decaf was a great option to have my morning cup, tell my brain to check that box, and keep going.
Do you know what’s in your Decaf?
Removing caffeine from coffee generally involves one of two processes: water-based vs. solvent (chemical) based.
Water-based is a non-solvent based decaffeination process. It relies on time and temperature, where coffee beans are placed in heated water. Caffeine is separated and removed from the water.
A Solvent-based process uses chemicals to remove caffeine. Coffee beans are placed in a heated solvent, and the caffeine separates and is removed. The commons solvents used in decaffeination are methylene chloride and ethyl acetate.
What is methylene chloride?
Methylene chloride, also known as dichloromethane and methylene dichloride, is a clear, colorless liquid with a slightly sweet scent that is commonly used as an industrial solvent in paint removers and pharmaceutical manufacturing.
Is methylene chloride dangerous?
Methylene chloride has been linked to cancer, cognitive impairment, and asphyxiation. Methylene chloride turns into carbon monoxide in the body and can cut off the oxygen supply to the heart. OSHA considers methylene chloride to be a potential occupational carcinogen.
Is there methylene chloride in my Decaf?
Are you wondering if this chemical is found in the Decaf you drink? It just might be!
The FDA currently allows methylene chloride to be used in the coffee decaffeination process and brands are not required to disclose which decaffeination process they use on their labels.
What do I do as a consumer?
As a consumer of Decaf, it is up to you to demand chemical-free decaffeinated coffee. Review the infographic shared above sharing the brands that tested negative for methylene chloride, and choose to skip the brands that use a less safe decaffeination process.
If your favorite brand was not tested, get in contact with them and ask about their decaffeination process.
As always, if you’re concerned, talk to your doctor.