EPA Maximum
Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG)

Acrylamide can be found in starchy, cooked foods like bread.

Acrylamide is a chemical compound used to make polyacrylamide materials for use in drinking water and waste water treatment. It's also used in glues, paper, cosmetics, oil wells, organic chemicals and dyes, ore processing, herbicides, dam foundation and tunnel construction.

It can be found in foods cooked at very high temperatures, especially starchy foods like breads and potatoes, and in coffee. It's believed to form as a result of the Maillard Reaction—a chemical reaction that produces browning.

Health Effects of Acrylamide

Acrylamide is a neurotoxin and a known animal carcinogen, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies acrylamide as a probable human carcinogen. According to the EPA:

Some people who drink water containing high levels of acrylamide over a long period of time could have problems with their nervous system or blood, and may have an increased risk of getting cancer.

Water Treatment for Acrylamide

According to Lenntech, activated carbon has a “moderate probability” of treating acrylamide, being effective only “in certain cases”. Although its use is regulated by the EPA, no preferred water treatment exists:

There are currently no acceptable means of detecting or removing acrylamide from drinking water.

Sources:WHO, EPA, Wikipedia, Lenntech, Photo: WikiMedia, author: Peggy Greb

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