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Much High Fructose Corn Syrup Contaminated With Mercury, New StudyFindsBrand-Name Food Products Also Discovered to Contain Mercury http://www.iatp.org
A separate study by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy(IATP)
HFCS use has skyrocketed in recent decades as the sweetener has replaced sugar in many processed foods. HFCS is found in sweetened beverages, breads, cereals, breakfast bars, lunch meats, yogurts,soups and condiments. On average, Americans consume about 12 teaspoonsper day of HFCS. Consumption by teenagers and other high consumers can be up to 80 percent above average levels. “Mercury is toxic in all its forms,” said IATP’s David Wallinga, M.D., and a co-author in both studies. “Given how much high fructose corn syrup is consumed by children, it could be asignificant additional source of mercury never before considered. Weare calling for immediate changes by industry and the FDA to help stopthis avoidable mercury contamination of the food supply.”
In the Environmental Health article, Dufault et al. found detectable levels of mercury in nine of 20 samples of commercial HFCS. Dufaultwas working at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration when the testswere done in 2005. She and co-authors conclude that possible mercurycontamination of food chemicals like HFCS was not common knowledgewithin the food industry that frequently uses the sweetener. While theFDA had evidence that commercial HFCS was contaminated with mercuryfour years ago, the agency did not inform consumers, help changeindustry practice or conduct additional testing.
For its report “Not So Sweet: Missing Mercury and High FructoseCorn Syrup
“The bad news is that nobody knows whether or not their soda or snack food contains HFCS made from ingredients like caustic soda contaminated with mercury,” said Dr. Wallinga. “The good news isthat mercury-free HFCS ingredients exist. Food companies just need agood push to only use those ingredients.” While most chlorine plants around the world have switched to newer,cleaner technologies, many still rely on the use of mercury cells. In2005, 90 percent of chlorine production was mercury-free, but just 40 percent of European production was mercury-free. Four U.S.chlor-alkali plants still rely on mercury cell technology. In 2007,then-Senator Barack Obama introduced legislation to force the remaining chlor-alkali plants to phase out mercury cell technology by2012. The Environmental Health article by Dufault et al. can be found at:www.ehjournal.net