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Acrylamide (Molecule of the Month for January 2006)

Acrylamide is a chemical that is used to make polyacrylamide materials. Polyacrylamide is used in the treatment of drinking-water and waste water where it is used to remove particles and other impurities. It is also used to make glues, paper and cosmetics. Polyacrylamide materials contain very small amounts of acrylamide.

Acrylamide is also produced in some foods prepared at high temperatures, for example in frying and roasting, so common food sources containing acrylamide include french fries, chips, biscuits, bread and coffee beans.

Acrylamide is known to cause cancer in animals. Also, certain doses of acrylamide are toxic to the nervous system of both animals and humans.

The levels of acrylamide in food stuff is very very smal so risks would be associated to long term exposure, therefore like all recommendations a balanced and varied diet reduces risks considerably by not repeatly eating the same thing over and over.

Formal Chemical Name (IUPAC)




Picture of Acrylamide 3D model

click on the picture of  Acrylamide above to interact
with the 3D model of the
Acrylamide structure
(this will open a new browser window)

Picture of Acrylamide


Update by Karl Harrison
(Molecule of the Month for January 2006 )

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