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Azodicarbonamide (ADC) is used commercially all over the world by bakers to strengthen and improve dough, but not enough research has been done on it.

Azodicarbonamide linked to Cancer in humans

Azodicarbonamide is linked to two suspicious chemicals that form when bread is baked. The first chemical is semicarbazide (SEM), which caused cancers of the lung and blood vessels in mice. It did not cause cancer in rats.

In 1976 the International Agency for Research on Cancer considered SEM to be a carcinogen in mice, but in 1987 concluded that the animal data were “limited” and that SEM was “not classifiable” as to its carcinogenicity to humans.

A second breakdown product, urethane, is a recognized carcinogen. ADC used at its maximum allowable level (45 ppm in bread) leads to levels of urethane in bread that pose a small risk to humans. Toasting such bread increases the amount of urethane. However, when used at 20 ppm, which may be the amount used by some commercial bakeries, a 1997 FDA study found “only a slight increase” in urethane. (Some urethane also forms in bread not made with azodicarbonamide.)

Azodicarbonamide may cause Asthma in Humans

Evidence that azodicarbonamide can induce asthma in humans has been found from bronchial challenge studies with symptomatic individuals and from health evaluations of employees at workplaces where azodicarbonamide is manufactured or used. There are also indications that azodicarbonamide may induce skin sensitization.

On the basis that azodicarbonamide is a human asthmagen and that the concentrations required to induce asthma in a non-sensitive individual or to provoke a response in a sensitive individual are unknown, it is concluded that there is a risk to human health under present occupational exposure conditions. The level of risk is uncertain; hence, exposure levels should be reduced as much as possible.

We don’t require azodicarbonamide in breads because its use risks exposure to a potential carcinogen. We at foodnetindia urge FSSAI to ban or discourage the use of this harmful additive in bread and bakery products in India.


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