Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cancerous Carbamate in Alcoholic Drinks

Carbamate in alcoholic beverages cancer

The dangers of drinking too much alcohol are well documented. Not only that alcohol can damage the body, but you can hurt yourself under the influence. But are not the only problems.

Alcoholic beverages produced by fermentation may contain ethyl carbamate, a toxic chemical also known as polyurethane. Ethyl carbamate has been classified as a Group 2A carcinogen in 2007 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, declaring it as a probable human carcinogen. It can also cause damage to internal organs and has been reported to induce reproductive and developmental defects in animals.

The substance also occurs in some foods, but not the same as alcoholic beverages. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and WHO has recently established a joint committee on Food Additives (JECFA) considered ethyl carbamate and.

They found that food intake was much less than the amount shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals, so it was a bit 'of concern. However, alcohol contributed a much larger share of the total intake of ethyl carbamate, such that JECFA has recommended the continuation of the mitigation measures to reduce concentrations of ethyl carbamate from a couple of alcoholic drinks.

Parallel to this objective, there must be adequate procedures for the test beverages to ensure they are safe to consume. Analysis of the ethyl carbamate is not difficult, with gas chromatography techniques a favorite, but the extraction of the chemical in drinking can be a challenge.

The main problem lies in the highly polar and hydrophilic molecule, which contributes to its relatively low volatility. This was examined by a team of Chinese researchers have used multiple headspace SPME (MHS-SPME) to overcome matrix effects and provide a full recovery from alcohol solutions.


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