Study Finds High-Fructose Contains Mercury
Monday, January 26, 2009; 12:00 AM
MONDAY, Jan. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Almost half of tested samples of
commercial high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) contained mercury, which
was also found in nearly a third of 55 popular brand-name food and
beverage products where HFCS is the first- or second-highest labeled
ingredient, according to two new U.S. studies.
HFCS has replaced sugar as the sweetener in many beverages and foods
such as breads, cereals, breakfast bars, lunch meats, yogurts, soups
and condiments. On average, Americans consume about 12 teaspoons per
day of HFCS, but teens and other high consumers can take in 80 percent
more HFCS than average.
"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 [ ] to help stop this avoidable mercury contamination of
the food supply," said the Institute for Agriculture and Trade
Policy's Dr. David Wallinga, a co-author of both studies.
In the first study, researchers found detectable levels of mercury in
nine of 20 samples of commercial HFCS. The study was published in
current issue of Environmental Health.
In the second study, the agriculture group found that nearly one in
three of 55 brand-name foods contained mercury. The chemical was most
common in HFCS-containing dairy products, dressings and condiments.
The use of mercury-contaminated caustic soda in the production of HFCS
is common. The contamination occurs when mercury cells are used to
produce caustic soda.
"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. The good news is that mercury-free HFCS
ingredients exist. Food companies just need a good push to only use
those ingredients," Wallinga said.
The U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry has more about
mercury and health.
SOURCE: Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, news release, Jan. 26, 2009