Chlor-alkali chemical plants use mercury to make products such as citric acid, sodium benzoate and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS.) There are 8 such plants in the U.S. From these plants seven tons of mercury were missing in 2000 according to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency.) Mercury is toxic to the brains of unborn children, adults, wild animals and the environment. It is important to find the missing mercury which can appear in the products made.
HFCS prolongs product shelf life and is a sweetener. This study involved testing HFCS products for mercury to determine the importance of these products in the diets of mercury sensitive people, such as children. HFCS can be made with mercury grade caustic soda and hydrochloric acid, which are used to balance pH.
Samples were tested for mercury from various factories. Nine out of 20 (45%) samples tested contained mercury up to .570 micrograms of mercury/g HFCS. Nine of the samples not containing mercury came from one manufacturer. Manufacturing processes need not be reported because they are “proprietary information.”
Mercury is found in fish, liver and poultry. The FDA does not have a program for surveillance of food components like those tested above. The Total Diet Study tests some foods for mercury. Fish parts are used by farmers to feed cows and chickens. Mercury is concentrated in fat and is passed on to the consumer.
Fructose accounts for 10% of calories consumed by U.S. children and adults. 74% of this fructose from comes from foods and drinks that are not fruits or vegetables. If HFCS is listed first or second on an ingredients list, the product probably has mercury. The average daily consumption of mercury in the U.S. is 28.4 micrograms of mercury. The average daily use of HFCS is 49.8 g.
Mercury in any form is extremely toxic to the nervous system. Fat-soluble organic mercury compounds (such as methylmercury) pass easily through the blood brain barrier. Use the following with caution: thiomersal in vaccines and dental amalgams. Inorganic mercury damages DNA. Neonates lack the ability to detoxify mercury from the body and don’t tolerate even low levels of mercury.
CONCLUSION: Excessive levels of mercury can be consumed in products containing HFCS. More products need testing. Further testing on the limits of mercury exposure is needed.
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