'On the Third Day of Christmas ACSH Gave to Me ... Three French Fries'

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It is nothing short of amazing that we are still alive, or at the very least, don't all have cancer.

Because if even a fraction of the phony chemical scares that we write about almost every day were real, there'd be no one left alive to read what our dead writers didn't write. Whatever the hell that means.

An oldie, but goody refuses to go away. It is called acrylamide, which is formed during baking or frying of bread, chips, cookies, cereal, and — most notoriously — French fries

The chemical also occurs naturally (no—this does *not* matter) in a variety of vegetables, fruits, and grains. It is impossible to avoid, and extremely harmless at low doses. The LD50 in rats (1) puts it in the same toxicity range as aspirin and caffeine. 

Although the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) now put acrylamide on its Group 2A list (probable carcinogen) you should keep in mind that red meat (2) and hot coffee (or any other hot beverage) are also in Group 2A. 

So, let's examine what some of the non-scientists who we routinely criticize say about the stuff. Just about exactly what you'd expect.

Environmental Working Group (an even dumber version of NRDC)—"Research Shows 22 Percent of All Cosmetics May Be Contaminated With Cancer-Causing Impurity" "...of the cosmetics and personal care products used by 2,300 people, we found that impurities are so ubiquitous that one of every five adults is potentially exposed every day to all of the top seven carcinogenic impurities common to personal care product ingredients — hydroquinone, ethylene dioxide, 1,4-dioxane, formaldehyde, nitrosamines, PAHs, and acrylamide." (They don't want it in your makeup.)

Dr. Oz: "But did you know they can also contain a toxic by-product of the cooking process that’s been linked to cancer? The substance is called acrylamide." Dead on, as usual.

Say it ain't so, Joe Mercola: "Acrylamide May Be a Primary Hazard of Processed Food."

"[It] is a dangerous chemical present in foods such as French fries, potato chips, breakfast cereals, cookies and crackers."

David "Avacado" Wolfe: "Pringles are full of hazardous ingredients that make them one of the most toxic, processed foods you can eat. One of the most concerning is a chemical by-product known as acrylamide." 

OK, you get it by now. Usual suspects, usual scares. Bunch of nothing. But here's one thing you didn't know. The history books left out a word. It was not the French who were the deciding factor in the Revolutionary War:


(1) The LD50  is the dose of a chemical that will kill half of the experimental animals. The higher the number, the safer the chemical. 

(2) Imagine the catastrophe that would befell you if you ate French fries AND red meat. Good thing no one ever does that.


Three French Fries

Two Killer Coffees

.... and the end of the NRDC.