Acetaldehyde Linked To Cancer

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Acetaldehyde a colorless, flammable liquid, C2H4O, used to manufacture acetic acid, perfumes, and drugs. Also called aldehyde.

World Health Organization, classified acetaldehyde included in and generated endogenously from alcoholic beverages as a Group I human carcinogen at same level as, for example, asbestos and tobacco.

According to Wikipedia it is an organic chemical compound with the formula CH3 CHO, sometimes abbreviated by chemists as MeCHO (Me = methyl). It is one of the most important aldehydes, occurring widely in nature and being produced on a large scale industrially.

Acetaldehyde occurs naturally in coffee, bread, and ripe fruit, and is produced by plants as part of their normal metabolism. It is also produced by oxidation of ethylene and is popularly believed to be a cause of hangovers from alcohol consumption. Pathways of exposure include air, water, land or groundwater as well as drink and smoke.

In 2003, global production was about 1 million tonnes.

The main production method is the oxidation of ethylene via the Wacker process: 2 CH2=CH2 + O2 → 2 CH3CHO Alternatively, hydration of acetylene, catalyzed by mercury salts gives ethenol, which tautomerizes to acetaldehyde. This industrial route was dominant prior to the Wacker process. When smaller capacities are required it can also be prepared via dehydrogenation or partial oxidation combined with dehydrogenation. Some acetaldehyde forms upon hydrogenation of CO, but this method is not used commercially.

Acetaldehyde is widely used by the food and beverage industries. It is claimed to improve the taste in processed foods and drinks

Acetaldehyde is common, but poorly known carcinogenic substance. Exposure to acetaldehyde occurs on a much larger scale than exposure to asbestos and smoking. On a global scale, exposure to acetaldehyde is linked to approximately 4 million new cancer cases annually, or nearly 40 per cent of all cancers. Awareness of the dangers posed by acetaldehyde should have a major global effect on the food industry and people's behavior. By influencing both of these, exposure to acetaldehyde can be notably decreased. For more...Cancer Research