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This is the chemical scientists say makes burnt toast potentially cancerous

Step away from the slice of toast you just burned. The black stuff on the outside could increase your risk of getting cancer…but probably not.

That’s the message health scientists have delivered for years, but it cropped up again this week (Jan. 23) when the UK government launched a new public health campaign. The UK Food Standards Agency is advising people to be aware that singeing food can increase their risk of exposure to acrylamide. The chemical has been classified as a carcinogen by health agencies around the globe, although its impacts on human health are not fully understood.

That acrylamide has been dubbed a carcinogen does not necessarily mean a person will get cancer if he or she comes into contact with it. The chemical is included on a list of literally hundreds of other things—some quite innocuous—that health groups have dubbed carcinogenic. Those include but are not limited to: Chinese-style salted fish, solar radiation, wood dust, leather dust, and hot beverages.


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