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 Acrylamide in Foods

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Join date : 2011-08-26

PostSubject: Acrylamide in Foods   Tue Aug 30, 2011 5:14 am

What is acrylamide?
What are the known health effects of acrylamide?
Does acrylamide increase the risk of cancer?
Is the acrylamide in food?
How does cooking produce acrylamide?
Are there other ways humans are exposed to acrylamide?
Are acrylamide levels regulated?
How do the levels of acrylamide in food compare to allowable levels set for drinking water?
Should I change my diet?
What research is needed?

What is acrylamide?

Acrylamide is a chemical compound that occurs as a solid crystal or in liquid solution. Its primary use is to make polyacrylamide and acrylamide copolymers. Trace amounts of the original (unreacted) acrylamide generally remain in these products. Polyacrylamide and acrylamide copolymers are used in many industrial processes, including production of paper, dyes, and plastics, and the treatment of drinking water, sewage and waste. They are also present in consumer products such as caulking, food packaging and some adhesives.

What are the known health effects of acrylamide?

Historically, exposure to high levels of acrylamide in the workplace has been shown to cause neurological damage.

Does acrylamide increase the risk of cancer?

Acrylamide has not been shown to cause cancer in humans. However, the relationship between acrylamide and cancer has not been studied extensively in humans. Because it has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory rats when given in the animals' drinking water, both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyon, France, consider acrylamide to be a probable human carcinogen. The National Toxicology Program's Ninth Report on Carcinogens states that acrylamide can be "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen."

Is there acrylamide in food?

Recent studies by research groups in Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, Britain and the United States have found acrylamide in certain foods. It has been determined that heating some foods to a temperature of 120 C (248 F) can produce acrylamide. Potato chips and french fries have been found to contain relatively high levels of acrylamide compared to other foods, with lower levels also present in bread and cereals. A joint World Health Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization (WHO/FAO) consultation in June 2002 concluded that the levels of acrylamide in foods pose a major concern and called for more research to determine what the risk is and what should be done.

How does cooking produce acrylamide?

In September 2002, researchers discovered that the amino acid asparagine, which is present in many vegetables, with higher amounts in some varieties of potatoes, can form acrylamide when heated to high temperatures in the presence of certain sugars. High-heat cooking methods, such as frying, baking or broiling, are most likely to result in acrylamide formation. Boiling and microwaving appear less likely to form acrylamide. Longer cooking times increase the amount of acrylamide produced when the temperature is high enough.

Are there other ways humans are exposed to acrylamide?

There are other ways humans are exposed to acrylamide, but exposure through food is one of the largest sources. Cigarette smoke may be a major source for some people. Exposure to acrylamide from other sources is likely to be significantly less than that from food or smoking, although scientists do not yet have a complete understanding of all the sources. There are some industrial and agricultural uses of acrylamide and polyacrylamide. However, regulations are in place to limit exposure in those settings.
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