People who drink tea warmer than 60 degrees Celsius and consume more than 700 ml of it per day have a 90% higher risk of esophageal cancer, scientists at the American Cancer Society warned.
"Many people enjoy drinking tea, coffee, or other hot beverages. However, according to our report, drinking very hot tea can increase the risk of esophageal cancer, and it is therefore advisable to wait until hot beverages cool down before drinking," the study's lead author, Dr. Farhad Islami, said.
The esophagus is a long tube through which food and liquids reach the stomach.
The study, published last week in the International Journal of Cancer, noted that more experiments are needed to determine the reason behind this association.
Stephen Evans, a professor of pharmacoepidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, stressed that it was the heat that was the problem rather than the type of beverage.
"In fact, it is probably anything hot: Microwaved jam has been known to cause esophageal injury. It is possible that the trauma leads to cell changes and hence to cancer," he told the Science Media Centre.