The Reality of Cancer Causing Acrylamide

August 17, 2016

Generally, we are unfamiliar with the term 'Acrylamide' but we are familiar with the term 'Cancer'. Acrylamide is a potential cancer causing chemical that is present in food, so it is time you familiarize yourself with this harmful substance.

What Is Acrylamide?

'Acrylamide' is a chemical that is primarily used to make 'Polyacrylamide' materials. Polyacrylamide is used for a number of industrial purposes - it is used to make cosmetics, glues, and paper. It is also used in the treatment of drinking-water to get rid of impurities and tiny particles. Acrylamide is present in foods that are cooked at extreme high temperatures. One may also be exposed to it via cigarette smoking.

Why is Acrylamide Harmful?

Now that we have understood what Acrylamide is, let's see just why it's such a dangerous chemical! Cancer Acrylamide has shown to be a very strong cancer causing factor in animals. Studies have found that exposure of Acrylamide can result in several different types of cancer in rats. There is not enough evidence of the cancer risk on human beings. However, the 'National Toxicology Program' (NTP) and the 'International Agency for Research on Cancer' have declared Acrylamide to be a "probable human carcinogen" - that means a possible cancer causing agent. It is worth noting that toxicology studies reveal that there is a difference in the absorption of this chemical in humans and rats - however this chemical can be potentially dangerous nonetheless! Moreover, in a relatively recent study it was found that Acrylamide may trigger the development of breast cancer in post-menopausal women. A study also seemed to reveal a relationship between the development of renal cell cancer and consuming Acrylamide through food. Harmful to the Nervous System Acrylamide has shown to cause serious neurological damage to animals and humans. This is particularly true for workers who are required to use Acrylamide, for instance workers who use it for the treatment of water. There is also a risk of Acrylamide exposure at some point in different manufacturing processes! This includes the production of paper, asphalt, petroleum, photographic film, construction adhesives, varnishes, and dyes.

Which Foods Contain Acrylamide?

Acrylamide levels are relatively high in foods that are cooked at high temperatures. The exact temperature at which Acrylamide is formed remains unknown and inconsistent. Researchers from United States and Europe generally agree that food cooked at temperatures above 120 degrees Celsius, that is, 248 Fahrenheit. The most common Acrylamide containing foods are Potato chips and French fries. This is probably because they tend to be cooked at high temperatures. Acrylamide is also present in raw, uncooked food, but not at the same proportion as cooked food.

Other Sources of Acrylamide Exposure?

The other main source of Acrylamide exposure after food is cigarette smoking! As we already know, cigarette smoking increases the likelihood of cancer - particularly lung cancer and mouth cancer. The presence of Acrylamide doesn't do you any favors either. Passive smoking also greatly increases your exposure to this chemical! If you are a smoker, we suggest you quit immediately. There are many developments and resources invented to help out. You can use nicotine gum, nicotine patches or the recent invention of the electronic cigarette.

How To Avoid Acrylamide?

Realistically speaking, Acrylamide is present in a wide variety of foods - both commercial and home-cooked. Your best bet is to not over-fry or over-cook your foods. We know crunchy fries and meat are very tasty but you must evaluate if it's worth the cost to your health? It would also be wise to not eat burnt or dark brown toast or any food that is over cooked.