Drinking hot tea — a much-loved beverage — can contribute to the risk of esophageal cancer, a new study claims. Earlier studies revealed a link between hot tea drinking and esophageal cancer. However, this study, published in the International Journal of Cancer, was the first to point out a specific temperature.

The study found that drinking two cups about 700ml tea per day that is 60° Celsius or warmer increases the risk of developing cancer of the esophagus called esophageal squamous cell carcinoma by 90 per cent compared to those who had less tea and drank at cooler temperatures.

[Genes can determine a person’s perception of bitterness, which in turn influences people’s choice of beverage]

The study’s lead author, Dr Farhad Islami of the American Cancer Society, says, ‘It is advisable to wait until hot beverages cool down before drinking.’

Esophageal cancer is the eighth most common cancer in the world, usually caused by repeated damage to the esophagus due to smoke, alcohol and acid reflux.