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Understanding Acrylamide

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Until about a decade ago, acrylamide was known only as a constituent of cigarette smoke and of products such as plastics and water treatment chemicals. But in 2002 Swedish scientists were surprised to find this human neurotoxicant and probable carcinogen in many heat-processed foods, especially starchy ones such as potato chips, crackers, and french fries. A flurry of research since then has yielded general advice about reducing formation of acrylamide and other heat-generated food toxicants in home cooking and a few recommendations for healthier eating. Now, in 2010, new acrylamide studies are giving a clearer picture of the extent of exposure to the chemical in the United States. These studies also raise additional questions about whether differences in metabolism make exposure more dangerous in certain populations, including children and people who are obese. (...)

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