Does Furfuryl Cause Cancer?

The listing of furfuryl alcohol is based on formal identification by the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), an authoritative body, that the chemical causes cancer. The criteria used by OEHHA for the listing of chemicals under the “authoritative bodies” mechanism can be found in Title 27, Cal. Code of Regs., section 25306.

The video zooms in on a label stamped on the back of the White Castle box: “Consuming this product can expose you to furfuryl alcohol, which is known to California to cause cancer.”

Chemical Listed Effective September 30, 2016 as Known to the State of California to Cause Cancer: Furfuryl Alcohol Notice of Intent to List Furfuryl Alcohol

The World Health Organization (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) continues to classify such agents regarding their potential carcinogenicity in humans based on new evidence from animal and human studies. Furfuryl alcohol and β-myrcene are potential human carcinogens due to be evaluated.

Other thermally processed foods, such as bread (187 mg/kg), baked goods (110 mg/kg), ice cream/ices (88 mg/kg), and fried fish (about 10 mg/kg) were also found to contain detectable amounts of furfuryl alcohol.

Occurrence of Furfuryl Alcohol The concentration of furfuryl alcohol was highest in coffee (beans 564 mg/kg and 267 mg/kg in instant coffee powder). Our new data on coffee with an average of 251 mg/kg and a maximum of 408 mg/kg corresponds well to the previous data.

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