My article on the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Reason's July issue noted there is little basis for the CSPI-fed alarm about acrylamide, a rodent carcinogen found in baked and fried foods. I mentioned a study in the January 13 British Journal of Cancer that found "no association between consumption of foods high in acrylamide and increased risk" of bladder, large bowel, or kidney cancer. Debra Korn of the American Council on Science and Health cites two more-recent studies that also should reassure people worried about acrylamide in their French fries or potato chips.
An Italian study of 7,000 cancer patients, reported in the International Journal of Cancer, found "no evidence for an interaction between fried and/or baked potato consumption and cancer," Korn writes. A study reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute
found that while acrylamide may interfere with the DNA replication process, possibly leading to mutations and tumor growth, this information cannot be applied to humans or even to grown animals since it was produced in test tube studies. Two researchers from Sweden pointed out, in an accompanying editorial, that the average concentration of acrylamide in human blood is five times lower than the lowest concentration used in the study. Test tube studies often use very high levels of substances, resulting in data that are not entirely applicable to living humans. The scientists also said that the risk from dietary acrylamide is small and that they would not recommend changing dietary guidelines.