CSPI on Harvard Acrylamide Study

Statement of CSPI Executive Director Michael F. Jacobson

January 28, 2003

The study provides no reassurance whatsoever that acrylamide is safe for humans. The researchers considered three cancers--bladder, colon, and kidney-- but those are not the ones that acrylamide causes in animals. (Acrylamide has been shown to cause lung, testes, breast, uterus, and other cancers in animals.) Moreover, the researchers' estimates of acrylamide exposure are flawed because they were based on a limited number of foods.

Considering that acrylamide is estimated to cause fewer than one percent of all cancers, it is highly unlikely that the study was sensitive enough to find or disprove a link between acrylamide and cancer. Finally, as the researchers acknowledge, foods contain a multitude of nutrients, and "it may be difficult to disentangle the protective effect of specific nutrients from that of acrylamide."

CSPI continues to advise consumers to eat less of the foods that have the most acrylamide: French fries and snack chips. Of course, those are exactly the kinds of foods that people should eat less of because they are low in nutrients and high in calories and, in some cases, trans fat.


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