If you own an air fryer, you understand how useful it is from shorter cooking times to the health benefits of cooking with little oil while achieving flavors similar to deep frying. While there are numerous advantages to using an air fryer, there are a few disadvantages too.
One frequently debated topic is whether air fryers increase your risk of certain cancers.
Are air fryers carcinogenic? Why do they have cancer warnings on them? Are they harmful to humans? Before we can answer that question, it’s essential to understand that many modern conveniences are thought to increase your cancer risk at some point.
In this blog, we will look at air fryers’ health risks and whether they cause or contribute to your overall cancer risk.
What Is the Prop 65 Warning for Air Fryers?
Proposition 65 (Prop 65) is a warning that businesses selling Air Fryers must include if using the Air Fryer may expose them to any harmful chemicals.
These warnings, on the other hand, provide clear and reasonable warnings about potential chemical exposure, which is thought to pose a risk of cancer and congenital disabilities, among other health issues.
The California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 aimed to protect Californians from exposure to toxic chemicals in their environment; thus, this law was extended as a warning when purchasing products such as air fryers.
Is Proposition 65 warning on all air fryers?
Not all air fryers come with a Proposition 65 warning.
If the air fryer is not from California, it will not have a Prop 65 warning, and if it has not been exposed to harmful chemicals, it will not have the warning.
NB: Just because your air fryer doesn’t have a Prop 65 warning doesn’t mean it’s safe; it could mean it’s not from California.
Can You Get Cancer From Using An Air Fryer?
First of all, an air fryer houses the heating mechanism and fan. To heat and cook food, an air fryer typically employs the principles of radiation, hot air circulation, and convection.
The heater attached above the cooking chamber of the air fryer produces heat energy in the form of radiation, while the vertical circulation of air through the base of the air fryer causes convection. This rapid circulation crisps the food, similar to deep-frying but without the oil.
No, you are not prone to having cancer from an air fryer. However, the myth is all about the chemical product acrylamide that is produced when the oil is exposed to high temperatures.
So when you deep fry, it requires a large amount of oil which must be heated to extremely high temperatures for the food to become crispy brown.
Acrylamide can form when oil is heated to the temperatures required for deep frying food. Acrylamide is a chemical that is produced during the browning of baked, fried, or roasted food. It is produced as a byproduct when sugars react with asparagine, an amino acid. This is known as the Maillard reaction.
The amount of acrylamide in food is determined by cooking temperature, food sugar content, moisture, and cooking time. Sugary foods, such as potatoes, have the potential to produce higher levels of acrylamide when cooked at extremely high temperatures.
According to a study conducted by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, acrylamide may contribute to the development of certain cancers such as ovarian, breast, pancreatic, and esophageal cancer.
However, the case is not similar to an air fryer. You only splash less than one teaspoon of oil for the cooking process, the rest is done by the heat circulated through the basket. So if there’s no oil to be heated at a high temperature there’s no risk of having cancer from using an air fryer.
So now, you must be curious why do air fryers have a prop 65 warning if there’s no risk of cancer from it? Let’s look into it in a bit more detail.
Why Do Air Fryers Have a Prop 65 Warning?
When compared to deep-frying, using an air fryer can reduce fat, calories, and potentially harmful compounds in food. If you cook with oil, air-fried foods may taste like fried foods and, if consumed frequently, may cause health problems.
In a variety of ways, air frying can alter the nutritional value of food and decrease your risk of developing cancer. This is because air fryers use less oil, and the amount of acrylamide a chemical classified as a group 2A carcinogen released into the air is reduced. This eliminates the need to reheat the oil.
Acrylamide is one of the chemicals covered by California’s Proposition 65 due to its carcinogenic potential. In humans, acrylamide has been linked to an increased risk of cancer.
Because of its potential to cause birth defects or other adverse effects on human reproduction, Proposition 65 prohibits the use of acrylamide. The development of a fetus and the male reproductive system may be harmed.
This is why some air fryers have a prop 65 warning, which means if you’re neglecting the cleanliness of the air fryer, or if you’re reheating the oil or using some low-quality oil you may end up producing acrylamide for yourself.
Which Air Fryers Do Not Cause Cancer?
The following are the best non-toxic air fryers on the market right now that are PTFE and PFOA free. Some of these air fryers are hybrids and multi-cooking appliances due to their combination with a pressure cooker, grill, or toaster oven:
|Ninja Foodie 9 in 1 pressure cooker
and air fryer
|Elite Platinum EAF-05SS Hot Air Fryer
|Oster Copper Infused Ceramic
|Ninja Air Fryer 4 Quart Capacity
|Pampered Chef Deluxe Air Fryer
Is Air Fryer Harmful To Humans?
No, it does not pose any harm to humans.
By retaining the food’s nutrient content, air fryers reduce the acrylamide chemical, which can cause cancer. Remember that cancer compounds are only formed when food is cooked at high temperatures for an extended period.
An air fryer is a healthier option than other cooking methods such as deep frying.
Air fryers typically cook food in less time, and the time cannot produce acrylamide. Furthermore, because air fryers reduce oil content by 80 percent, they do not require oil cooking to achieve a golden brown food result.
The good thing is that air fryers are healthy and safe because they reduce oil by up to 80% while still providing the crunchy texture you crave. Remember that too much oil is bad for you; even the healthiest oils, such as avocado and olive oil, contain calories that can lead to obesity.
Do Air Fryers Cause Acrylamide?
No, air fryers don’t produce acrylamide, not intentionally, that’s what I know.
Acrylamide is a naturally occurring element that can be produced when starchy vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, etc are cooked at high temperatures and for longer times than they have to be.
How Does Acrylamide Affect Your Health?
Acrylamide can enter your body through foods or water that contain acrylamide. When you inhale tobacco smoke, some acrylamide may enter your lungs.
Acrylamide can also enter your body through your skin if it comes into contact with it. If you work in the production of acrylamide or polyacrylamide gels, you may come into contact with acrylamide on your skin.
Acrylamide enters your body fluids once inside. Acrylamide and its breakdown products are mostly excreted in the urine, but small amounts can also be found in feces, exhaled air, and breast milk.
According to a new US toxicology study, the safest levels of acrylamide intake are 2.6 micrograms per kilogram of body weight. For a 70 kg human, the tolerable daily intake (TDI) for carcinogenic levels would be 182 micrograms.
Some acrylamide workers reported nervous system effects such as muscle weakness, numbness in their hands and feet, sweating, unsteadiness, and clumsiness. However, most people are not exposed to enough acrylamide to cause these effects.
Acrylamide reduces male animals’ ability to reproduce offspring and may have similar effects in humans, but not at exposure levels commonly encountered.
Acrylamide has been linked to a variety of cancers in animals. However, Acrylamide is not known to cause cancer in humans.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the National Toxicology Program (NTP), and the Department of Health and Human Services have all concluded that acrylamide is likely carcinogenic to humans.
How Do I Prevent Acrylamide In My Air Fryer?
It is possible to prevent high acrylamide levels by not overcooking food. Consumers should aim for a golden yellow or lighter color when frying (including air frying), baking, toasting, or roasting food.
You should look after the foods that produce acrylamide and keep your air fryer basket clean to ensure that no oil is re-heated.
Other than this, certain foods should be fried, roasted, or cooked for shorter periods rather than longer periods. This will prevent your food to produce acrylamide. However, boiling or steaming does not produce acrylamide.
NOTE: Soak raw potato slices in water for 15 to 30 minutes before frying or roasting to reduce acrylamide formation.
Are Air Fryers Fumes Toxic?
Some air fryers will smell like plastic, but this should fade with use. If the odor persists or worsens, turn off your air fryer and store it. Then, to return or exchange the product, contact the manufacturer.
In addition, depending on the brand of air fryer you choose, some manufacturers coat their nonstick surfaces with a Teflon-style spray. This prevents food from sticking to your cooking basket and other surfaces, but it may cause a chemical or plastic odor the first few times you use your new unit.
This smell should go away after a few uses of your new air fryer.
However, if the fumes are white, this means it’s not the steam and, in fact, something is burning inside. For this emergency, you can call the manufacturer or check the troubleshooting manual.
You can also check my discussion on Are air fryers fumes toxic? to know more about this.
Well, air fryers have a prop 65 warning because some of them produce a chemical known as acrylamide which can be a potential cancer-causing agent.
However, you can prevent acrylamide to form by looking out and cleaning your air fryer on time so you don’t reheat your oil.
There are some non-toxic air fryers that can give your mind the comfort of not being at risk of cancer.
With this, I hope this blog was useful to you and answered your questions.