liveonearth (liveonearth) wrote,

Mercury found in High Fructose Corn Syrup

A new study, written up in the Chicago Tribune, shows that mercury contamination is present in corn syrup. Though we were already avoiding that particular noxious ingredient, weren't we?

--study published Monday Environmental Health
--traces of elemental mercury detected in 9 of 20 HFCS samples
--no federal laws limiting elemental intake
--EPA advises preg women to limit methylmercury (in fish) intake to 5.5 micrgrams/day
--if someone regularly eats HCFS with the highest Hg level detected (0.57 micrograms per gram) they'll take in the equivalent of 5x the EPA's safe dose
--mercury linked to learning disabilities in children and heart disease in adults
--source appears to be caustic soda and hydrochloric acid, used in manufacturing
--handful of plants still make the soda and acid by mixing a briny solution in electrified vats of mercury
--average American consumes 12 teaspoons daily according to feds
--"For the most part, previous studies haven't found mercury in foods other than fish," said Kathryn Mahaffey, who co-wrote a landmark report to Congress on the perils of mercury contamination. "Is this an outlier or something we didn't know about before?" (is this not knowing about Hg in things a matter of ignorance a la Shrubites, or is this a well-researched absence of data?)
--most chlorine plants already have switched to mercury-free technology
--Obama in 2005 introduced legislation to further limit Hg use in Ill
--plant in WI vowed to switch by this year
--four still use the old technology: in GA, OH, TN, and WV
--lead author: Renee Dufault. began research while investigating WI plant for the FDA in the mid-2000s
--published results a year after retiring from FDA
--industry claims data is outdated and HFCS is safe
Tags: fda, georgia, high fructose corn syrup, illinois, mercury, obama, ohio, tennessee

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