I heard on the radio today that Minnesota is ranked the third healthiest state 
in the nation, based on per-capita insured, percentage of children in poverty, 
health laws, medical facilities, and other factors. That's something to be 
proud of, but I believe that as Minneapolis is the progressive center of change 
for this state, we can do more. If we make Minneapolis the #1 healthiest city 
in the nation, the rest of the state will follow, and more and more cities 
around the country will follow our lead. 

I for one am tired of always being reactionary, and playing catch-up. Let's 
take the initiative, get ahead of the curve and force positive, progressive 
change. How do we accomplish this? 

By banning coffee. 

At first glance, this may seem a radical proposal, and I'm not suggesting that 
it will be easy, but what's worthwhile that ever is? 

Some may be baffled by this suggestion, but it is only because the big coffee 
growers have managed to pull the wool over everyone's eyes. 

Coffee is a highly addictive, and poisonous product that is routinely marketed 
to kids. Coffee sellers add whipped cream, and chocolate syrup and sprinkles to 
disguise the bitter taste, and make people think it's candy. Ads on TV make big 
coffee chains look hip. Coca-Cola is rolling out a new coffee/cola hybrid 
called, Coca-Cola Black, to be sold to children. TV shows, and movies are 
riddled with coffee product placements. There are no warning labels on coffee. 
There is no age requirement to purchase and consume it. The manufacturers hide 
the dangers of coffee, and even have the nerve to make claims that it has 
health benefits! 

Coffee contains hundreds of volatile and harmful chemicals, such as: 

Pyridine (Pyridine is a harmful substance if inhaled, ingested or absorbed 
skin, it is known to reduce male fertility and is considered carcinogenic as
well. Common symptoms of exposure to pyridine include: headache, coughing,
asthmatic breathing, laryngitis, nausea and vomiting); 

Caffine (Caffeine is a biological poison used by plants as a pesticide. The 
gives seeds and leaves a bitter taste, which discourages their consumption
by insects and animals. If predators persist in eating a caffeine-containing
plant, the caffeine can cause central nervous system disruptions and even
lethal side effects. Caffeinism - addiction to caffine, a condition which 
mimics mental illnesses ranging from anxiety and bipolar disorder to 
schizophrenia and psychosis, is among the more worrisome effects of acute or 
chronic coffee consumption); 

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) - You might remember them as the 
cancer-causing agents isolated from barbecued meat; 

Many of the same phenols found in tobacco smoke are also present in coffee, 
such as caffeic acid (there are over 200 acids in coffee). Phenols are known 
carcinogens (that means they cause cancer);

Other hazardous chemicals found in coffee include: acetaldehyde, adenine, 
chlorogenic acid, guaiacol, tannic acid, theobromine, ard trigonelline. 

People who are forced to work in the coffee industry are susceptible to "Coffee 
Worker's Lung," also known as Allergic Alveolitis which is a severe 
inflammation and obstruction of the lungs. It's cause is inhilation of dust 
from the coffee grinding process. 

To make matters worse, brewed coffee releases the various aromatic compounds 
listed above into the air as vapor. The dangers of coffee are not limited to 
the person who drinks it. Anyone who shares indoor space with a person drinking 
hot coffee is exposed to the same harmful chemicals. And they don't even know 

My research on exactly which chemicals are carried in the coffee vapor isn't 
yet complete, but the US Department of Health has determined that Pyridine is 
present in coffee vapor. It is released into the air by brewing coffee, and 
from cups of hot, steaming coffee. This is a known carcinogen. 

Besides coffee worker's lung, coffee workers have been known to develop asthma, 
dermatitis, rhinitis, and urticaria from exposure to coffee vapor. Something 
must be done to protect them. 

We've been lied to by Big Coffee. Second-hand coffee (SHC) poses a serious 
health risk. Coffee workers are most at risk, but so is anyone who enters a 
cafe for a scone, only to be assaulted by hundreds of invisible (but smelly) 
chemicals in the air. And people take their children in there, thinking they 
are safe. 

So, now that the dangers are known, what action do we take? I propose the 
following plan of action: 

1. Call upon Coca-Cola to discontinue Coca-Cola Black, and contribute large 
sums of money to the American Lung Association, and American Cancer society. 
These outfits can then use the money to lobby for coffee bans, and Coca-Cola 
will benefit, as consumers will be forced to buy their sodas for their caffeine 
addictions as coffee becomes less available to them. Health insurance companies 
may also wish to contribute. 

2. Sue the major coffee companies for knowingly marketing a dangerous and 
addictive product that has cost our nation billions in health costs. And, let's 
not forget they market to children! They must be stopped from this devious 
practice, and pay restitution for that. With money obtained from the coffee 
companies, we will have funds available for a public awareness campaign. 

3. Incrementally push for coffee bans. An outright ban might hurt the economy 
too much (it is the most traded commodity in the world), and people may not 
accept it. They will need time to be educated. First, ban it in offices, and 
government buildings, and prohibit it's sale to minors. 

4. Call for tax increases to offset the impact of coffee on our health care 
costs, and curtail it's purchase. 

5. Continue to broaden the scope of the bans until no hot coffee is consumed in 
any indoor public space, where it may impact others against their will. 

6. Push for a coffee-free city by 2015 (this date may have to be modified - 
there will likely be some opposition to overcome). 

This is all I have so far, but I think it's a good start. I hope a spirited 
discussion of my proposal will lead to more, and better ideas to fight back 
against big coffee. 

Dan McGrath
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