Archive for the ‘High Fructose Corn Syrup and Mercury’ Category

High Fructose Corn Syrup and Mercury

April 5, 2010

Environmental Health. January 26, 2009;8:2 -Dufault R, LeBlanc B, Schnoll R, Cornett C, Schweitzer L, Walling D, Hightower J, Patrick L, Lukiw WJ

“Mercury from chlor-alkali plants: Measured concentrations in food product sugar.”(High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) and Mercury)

First some comedy:  Saturday Night Live – High Fructose Corn Syrup Commercial


1) High fructose corn syrup is used in food products to enhance shelf life. It is often produced with mercury in part because mercury is a preservative.

2) Mercury is used to produce thousands of products including food ingredients such as citric acid, sodium benzoate, and high fructose corn syrup.

3) Mercury is a “potent neurological toxin.” “Mercury is a danger to unborn children whose developing brains can be damaged if they are exposed to low dose microgram exposures in the womb.”

4) This study only looked at the mercury content of high fructose corn syrup and found some samples to be significantly high in mercury content. These authors had trouble in their analysis because the companies that make high fructose corn syrup are reluctant to share their processing information and contents, claiming such information to be proprietary.

5) Even “organic” high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) uses mercury in the manufacturing process to enhance the shelf life of HFCS containing products.

6) HFCS is used as a sweetener by food manufacturers. It also stabilizes food products and enhances product shelf life.

7) This study “clearly and reliably demonstrated significant levels of mercury in 45% of the HFCS samples analyzed.”

8)   “In 2004, several member states of the European Union reported finding mercury concentrations in beverages, cereals and bakery ware, and sweeteners – all of which may contain HFCS.”

9) The “FDA does not currently have a mercury surveillance program for food ingredients such as added sugars or preservatives manufactured with mercury grade chlor-alkali products.”

10) “A recent study of dietary fructose consumption among US children and adults indicate that fructose consumption by Americans represents ten percent (10%) of calories consumed in a 24-hour period.”

11) “Product labels listing HFCS as a first or second ingredient may contain detectable levels of mercury if the HFCS was manufactured with mercury grade chlor-alkali chemicals.”

12) These authors estimate that the potential average daily total mercury exposure from HFCS could be as high as 28.4 micrograms mercury.

13) Daily exposure of mercury from dental amalgams is significantly lower than 28.4 micrograms averaging between 0.79 to 1.91 micrograms, and “Canada and other countries do not recommend the use of mercury amalgam in pregnant women or children.”

14) “HFCS is presently ubiquitous in processed foods and therefore significantly consumed by people all over the world.”

15) “Mercury in any form – either as water-soluble inorganic salt, a lipid-soluble organic mercury compound, or as metallic mercury- is an extremely potent neurological toxin.”

16) “Organic mercury compounds such as methylmercury that are fat-soluble and readily cross the blood brain barrier are especially damaging to developing nervous tissues.”

17) Brain development is related to cumulative early life exposure to mercury. These early life exposures include the following sources:
A)) Maternal fish consumption during pregnancy [methylmercury]
B)) Thimerosal in certain vaccines (ethylmercury)
C)) Dental amalgam [inorganic mercury]

18) “In the US, the current action level of 1 micrograms methylmercury/g fish or seafood was set in 1977 during court proceedings of the United States of American v. Anderson Seafoods, Inc. The data used to determine the action level in fish came from a poisoning incident that occurred in Iraq under Saddam Hussein’s regime in 1971–1972.”

19) “There has never been a blinded, placebo, controlled study published giving humans mercury or methylmercury, nor would this kind of study be ethically considerable.”

20) “Quantitative information on long-term effects of inorganic (found in dental amalgams) mercury compounds on humans does not exist.” Inorganic mercury compounds react with DNA and are clastogenic (agents that induce disruption or breakage of chromosomes).

21) “Sensitive populations such as neonates lacking the ability to efficiently excrete mercury or individuals that retain mercury in their body due to impairments in detoxification(glutathione) pathways may not be protected by any exposure limit.”

22) “The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that minimizing any form of mercury exposure is essential for optimal child health and nervous system development.”

23) Mercury containing chemicals may be used to make HFCS. Therefore, food products containing HFCS may also have mercury contamination.

24) “With daily per capita consumption of HFCS in the US averaging about 50 grams and daily mercury intakes from HFCS ranging up to 28 micrograms, this potential source of mercury may exceed other major sources of mercury especially in high-end consumers of beverages sweetened with HFCS.”

Other good reading:   Diagnosis Mercury: Money, Politics, and Poison by Jane Hightower MD (2009) is excellent.

High fructose corn syrup is in most sodas, catsups, etc.
High fructose corn syrup has been linked to both the obesity epidemic and escalating diabetes rates in the United States.

1) Kogan MD, Blumberg SJ, Schieve LA, Prevalence of Parent-Reported Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Children in the US, 2007, Pediatrics. Volume 124, Number 4, October 2009.
2) Dufault R, LeBlanc B, Schnoll R, Cornett C, Schweitzer L, Walling D, Hightower J, Patrick L, Lukiw WJ. Mercury from chlor-alkali plants: Measured concentrations in food product sugar. Environmental Health. January 26, 2009;8:2