Expert panel to review toxicity associated with exposure to acrylamide

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will hold an expert panel meeting May 17-19, in Alexandria, Virginia, to review the scientific evidence regarding the potential reproductive and/or developmental toxicity associated with exposure to acrylamide.

Composed of independent scientists selected for their scientific expertise in reproductive and developmental toxicology, as well as other areas of science relevant for acrylamide, the expert panel will determine if exposure to acrylamide is a hazard for reproductive health or the development of children. The panel will also identify data gaps and research needs.

Acrylamide was selected for evaluation because of the recent discovery that many people are exposed to small amounts of acrylamide through its presence in some starchy foods cooked at high temperatures, such as French fries and potato chips.

Acrylamide is also used in the production of polyacrylamide — used in water treatment, pulp and paper production, mineral processing, and scientific research. Polyacrylamide is also used in the synthesis of dyes, adhesives, contact lenses, soil conditioners, cosmetics and skin creams, food packaging materials, and permanent press fabrics.

Acrylamide is known to be a health hazard. It has been shown to induce neurotoxicity in highly exposed occupational groups. In addition, laboratory studies in animals have shown that exposure to acrylamide can induce cancer, genetic damage in sperm, and adverse effects on reproduction and development.

The meeting will be conducted by the Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction (CERHR), established by the NIEHS' National Toxicology Program. CERHR selects chemicals for evaluation based upon several factors including production volume, extent of human exposure, public concern, and published evidence of reproductive or developmental toxicity.

This meeting is open to the public and attendance is limited only by the available meeting room space at the Holiday Inn Old Town, 480 King Street, Alexandria.

Questions and public comments should be directed to Dr. Michael Shelby, CERHR Director, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, 919-541-3455, [email protected].

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