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Acrylamide: Is Coffee Deadly? Essay

965 words - 4 pages

Rough Draft
Parker Lim

[Intro] [HOOK] The next time you order your standard morning triple, venti, soy, no
foam latte, you might want to think twice. Millions of people around the world depend on coffee
to help get them through their day, but can it be deadly? In recent years it has become
known that coffee, as well as many other common food items, contain a chemical known as
acrylamide. Acrylamide is a naturally born by-product that forms in a wide variety of foods once
they are cooked or heated. Acrylamide is not added to food products but when plant based foods and foods rich in carbohydrates are fried, toasted, baked, grilled or roasted at high temperatures ...view middle of the document...

[THESIS] Is Acrylamide a big enough threat to be very well-known? Acrylamide in general is not a new discovery. It has been around for many years as an industrial chemical used primarily as a building block in making polyacrylamide and acrylamide copolymers. Polyacrylamide and acrylamide copolymers are used in many industrial processes, such as the production of paper, dyes, and plastics, and in the treatment of drinking water and wastewater, including sewage. They are also found in consumer products, such as caulking, food packaging, and some adhesives. Trace amounts of acrylamide generally remain in these products. It is also known to be present in tobacco smoke. Anyone who works with these products knows that acrylamide needs to be handled with extreme care. High levels of acrylamide in the workplace have been shown to cause neurological damage.

Without knowing it, humans have been consuming this carcinogen in their food for thousands of years. Although it wasn’t until 2002 when a group of Swedish scientists, the Swedish National Food Authority, for the first time confirmed the proposed link between dietary intake of acrylamide and cancer, five years after the suspected carcinogen was detected in cooked food. They presented research showing that acrylamide can form in certain foods during the baking, roasting, or frying process of foods particularly high in starch.
Recent laboratory studies suggest that frequent dietary exposure to the chemical is capable of damaging nerve cells in the brain and potentially could play a role in the development of neurodegenerative disease, including Alzheimer's. The structure of acrylamide has been shown to be similar to a chemical called acrolein which is found in increased levels in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Recently, the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations stated that the levels of acrylamide in foods does pose a “major concern” but that more...

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