Topic 2 Effect of acrylamide on health

Following ingestion, acrylamide is absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract, is distributed to all organs and is extensively metabolised (European Food Safety Authority, n.d.-a). Glycidamide is one of the main metabolites from this process, that readily reacts with DNA and raises concerns about potential genotoxicity (Points, 2017). Several studies in animals pointed out that acrylamide can cause gene mutations and tumours (European Food Safety Authority, n.d.-a).

Acrylamide is also a known human neurotoxin that at high levels of exposure may cause a range of symptoms such as numbness in the hands and feet (Lawley et al., 2012). General symptoms of neurotoxicity in humans are a characteristic ataxia, skeletal muscle weakness, weight loss, distal swelling, and degeneration of axons in the central and peripheral nervous systems (Rifai & Saleh, 2020). Pre- and post-natal development and harmful effects on male reproduction have been also reported (European Food Safety Authority, n.d.-a). However, it is highly unlikely that the levels found in foods could result in sufficient exposure to cause neurological damage or reproductive toxicity (Lawley et al., 2012).