Minireview on the toxicity of dietary acrylamide

Food Chem Toxicol. 2008 Apr;46(4):1360-4. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2007.08.027. Epub 2007 Aug 29.


Acrylamide is a commodity chemical with many industrial and laboratory uses. It is also formed from carbohydrate and amino acid containing food by heating (primarily in fried potato products, bread, coffee). Neurotoxicity was detected as the primary toxic effect after occupational exposure. In rats and mice AA is toxic for reproduction and development and to male germ cells, is genotoxic through a reactive metabolite, glycidamide, and carcinogenic to several organs. Epidemiological studies did not point to an association between either occupational or dietary exposure and an excess of cancer incidence. Health risks of the general population are based on an average exposure to 1 microg/kg bw/day increasing for high consumers to 4 microg/kg bw/day. For average consumers a margin of exposure of 200 for neurotoxicity can be regarded as sufficiently protective. However, a margin of 300 for carcinogenic risks appears not sufficient when applying a precautionary principle. This is also illustrated when the benchmark dose lower confidence limit for cancer is divided by an uncertainty factor of 300, which arrives at a tolerable daily intake of 1 microg/kg bw/day, and thus is in the range of average consumption. Further measures to minimize acrylamide formation in food should therefore be explored to reduce human exposure.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acrylamides / pharmacokinetics
  • Acrylamides / toxicity*
  • Animals
  • Carcinogens / toxicity
  • Diet*
  • Food Contamination
  • Humans
  • Mutagens / toxicity


  • Acrylamides
  • Carcinogens
  • Mutagens