What is Acrylamide?

Acrylamide is an organic compound with the chemical formula CH₂=CHCNH₂, it has no odor and is a solid white solvent.
It is soluble in water and several organic solvents.
It can be found in small amounts in consumer products including caulk, food packaging, and cigarette smoke.
Some chemical reactions can naturally form acrylamide, generally in some types of starchy foods after cooking at high temperatures. This food can be french fries, potato chips, foods made from grains (such as breakfast cereals, cookies, and toast), and coffee.

What is polyacrylamide used for?

It is produced industrially as a precursor to polyacrylamides and used as water-soluble thickeners and flocculation agents, other industries responsible for making paper and pulp, foundry, construction, textiles, cosmetics, oil drilling, food processing, plastics have acrylamide as an essential chemical in the manufacture too.

Does acrylamide cause cancer?

In 2002 was discovered that Acrylamide was part of some food, since then the American Cancer Society, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the World Health Organization (WHO), the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), and many other organizations began to search if acrylamide had harmful potential.
Summing up, those organizations couldn’t determinate with precision if this compound were carcinogenic since all studies were made with animals exposed to high doses.
The general opinion of acrylamide in food is that it is probably carcinogenic to humans but is required for more studies to prove it.

What foods contain acrylamide?

Acrylamide is not recent in food, it is a chemical that probably has always been present, but it was only discovered in 2002.
It appears during the high-temperature cooking process, such as frying, roasting, and baking.
Acrylamide in food forms from sugars and an amino acid that are naturally present in food; it does not come from food packaging or the environment.
The FDA regulates the amount of residual acrylamide in the material that comes in contact with food, but the food itself is not regulated.
Water too has regulation about the amount of this compound.
The major potential sources of acrylamide exposure are in certain foods and in cigarette smoke.If you avoiding cigarette smoke this can lower your exposure to this and other harmful chemicals.
If you are still concerned, there are some things you can do to lower your exposure.
In general, acrylamide levels rise when cooking is done for longer periods or at higher temperatures, and when certain types of cooking methods are used (such as frying or roasting).
Here are some ways to reduce exposure to acrylamide in foods, according to the FDA:  

  • Limit foods that might be high in acrylamide, such as potato products (especially French fries and potato chips), coffee, and foods made from grains (such as breakfast cereals, cookies, and toast).
  • Limit certain cooking methods, such as frying and roasting, and limit the time certain foods are cooked. Boiling and steaming do not produce acrylamide.
  • Soak raw potato slices in water for 15 to 30 minutes before frying or roasting to reduce acrylamide formation during cooking. (Soaked potatoes should be drained and blotted dry before cooking to prevent splattering or fires.)
  •  If frying potatoes or toasting bread, cook them to a lighter color (as opposed to dark brown), which produces less acrylamide.
  • Avoid storing potatoes in the refrigerator, which can result in increased acrylamide levels during cooking.
    This chemical is found mainly in foods made from plants, such as potato products, grain products, or coffee.

It does not form, or forms at lower levels, in dairy, meat, and fish products.
Generally, acrylamide is more likely to accumulate when cooking is done for longer periods or at higher temperatures.
Since acrylamide is formed through cooking, acrylamide levels in cooked organic foods should be similar to levels in cooked non-organic foods.

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