More than one-third of the calories consumed by U.S. and European populations contain acrylamide, a substance classified as a "probable human carcinogen" based on laboratory data. Thus, it is a public health concern to evaluate whether intake of acrylamide at levels found in the food supply is an important cancer risk factor. Mean dietary intake of acrylamide in adults averages 0.5 microg/kg of body weight per day, whereas intake is higher among children. Several epidemiological studies examining the relationship between dietary intake of acrylamide and cancers of the colon, rectum, kidney, bladder, and breast have been undertaken. These studies found no association between intake of specific foods containing acrylamide and risk of these cancers. Moreover, there was no relationship between estimated acrylamide intake in the diet and cancer risk. Results of this research are compared with other epidemiological studies, and the findings are examined in the context of data from animal models. The importance of epidemiological studies to establish the public health risk associated with acrylamide in food is discussed, as are the limitations and future directions of such studies.