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Mercury Found in High-Fructose Corn Syrup

Mercury Found in High-Fructose Corn Syrup

Natural News
March 26, 2009

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztEulwzpwSU

High-fructose corn syrup has taken our food shelves by storm. It is present in many different types of bread, cereals, breakfast bars, yogurts, soups and sugary beverages. It is estimated that, on a typical day, an American consumes an average of 12 teaspoons of such syrup. Further, teenagers and others with high consumption may even be taking in up to 80% more than average. Recently, two separate studies, one published in the journal Environmental Health and the other conducted by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), have revealed a further danger of high-fructose corn syrup, having found that it may contain mercury.

Environmental Health Study

In the report of the first study, it was noted that mercury cell chlor-alkali products are used to make many food ingredients; these include citrus acid, sodium benzoate, as well as high-fructose corn syrup. The latter, referred to as HFCS for short, is used to sweeten and stabilize food products and lengthen their shelf lives.

In 2003, the Environmental Protection Agency had reported that an average of about 7 tons of mercury from each of the then 8 mercury cell chlor-alkali plants located in the US were unaccounted for in 2000. All that mercury must have gone somewhere, and, with it being such a dangerous neurotoxin, that was a dangerous statistic implying additional exposure for humans and the environment. Of particular concern is exposure for children and other sensitive segments of the population.

An Environmental Health Officer (EHO) thus conducted an investigation in 2004, which revealed that both mercury grade and membrane grade caustic soda were used by the industry to manufacture HFCS. Another chemical used was hydrochloric acid. Since mercury grade chemicals were used in the manufacturing process of HFCS, it was likely that mercury could be found in the final product, too.

The EHO dug deeper, collecting HFCS samples from 3 manufacturers and then analyzing them for total mercury content. In almost half of the samples, or 9 out of 20, mercury levels above the detection limit of 0.005 micrograms of mercury per gram of HFCS was found. The maximum level detected was 0.570 ìg mercury/g HFCS in one sample. The samples were collected from 17 to 24 February, 2005.

IATP Study

For the IATP study, the researchers had tested 55 popular brand-name food products and detected mercury in 17 of them (see WebMD link below for a list of the affected products). The 55 products had been chosen based on the fact that HFCS was the number one or two labeled ingredient; such labeling indicates that HFCS was the highest or second highest ingredient in the product, according to weight. The worst hit products were dairy products, followed by dressings and condiments.

“Mercury is toxic in all its forms. Given how much high fructose corn syrup is consumed by children, it could be a significant additional source of mercury never before considered. We are calling for immediate changes by industry and the FDA to help stop this avoidable mercury contamination of the food supply,” said David Wallinga, MD, from the IATP, who was involved in both the said studies.

It should be noted that a “snap-shot” sample of the products was obtained, which would not conclusively prove that these products were always or often contaminated.

Read Full Article Here

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